TWIN LAKES, Wis. -- It appears a police dog in Twin Lakes will get to stay with his handler after all, after the Village Board will consider community efforts in a special meeting on Monday.
Officer Joe Patla and K9 Rex were greeted with cheers as they arrived at the police station.
Patla was originally supposed to turn in the K9 to the department Thursday afternoon, after the Village Board voted that the Rex would need to stay with the department and part ways with Patla, after the officer accepted a new position elsewhere.
Officer Patla offered to pay for the K9, but that offer was turned down by the board. Officials said they consulted with experts who said Rex still had years left to serve the community.
Police Chief Adam Grosz recognized the situation was emotional for everyone involved, he said after extensive research experts suggested Rex should be reassigned to a new handler because he meant to be a working dog.
After people in Twin Lakes heard the two would be separated, they raised more than $11,000 in less than 24 hours to keep Officer Palta and Rex together.
Thursday, instead of keeping the dog, the Village Board decided to consider selling Rex to Officer Patla. Meaning, for now, the two get to remain together.
Patla says Rex is more than a working partner - he's family.
"Rex is like a kid to me, you saw everything we went through here. The community put a lot of effort into getting him, and with him spending three years at home with me 24/7 it’s a bond even above having just a regular house dog," Patla said.
Patla says he is overwhelmed by the community support, and says he doesn't know how he is going to repay the generosity. People who raised the money say he doesn't have to.
"Very thankful of all the support and just the outpouring, there are no words to describe what that has done. Very thankful that the Chief and the Village Board has decided to reconsider after hearing the voice of the public. I have the utmost respect for them," said Patla.
The Village Board will discuss selling Rex to Officer Palta at a special session on Monday at 6:30.