The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department will soon lose a trusted member of its K-9 unit.
Gordy, a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois, is scheduled to retire due to old age sometime between this winter and next spring. He’s one of four dogs that make up the sheriff’s department’s K-9 unit.
“You build a partnership for so long, so it's going to be a sad day,” said Gordy’s handler, Deputy Brad Stenulson. The two have been paired up for seven years.
“But it’ll also be good for him. He gets to enjoy retirement a little bit,” Stenulson said.
The department is already starting the process of raising money for Gordy’s replacement. Each K-9 costs roughly $18,000, and the program is entirely funded by donations.
Stenulson said the K-9 unit is constantly busy, so it’s important that Gordy’s successor be on duty relatively quickly after he retires.
Sheriff’s department officials said they hope they can purchase a new dog and have it in training by next spring.
“We get used more than 600 times per year,” Stenulson said.
Deputy Ryan Wollenhaupt, another one of the department’s K-9 handlers, said he’s been asked to assist other law enforcement agencies throughout Waukesha County, as well as in Walworth and Washington Counties.
“There’s only a few dogs in the county, so we all help each other out,” he said.
Wollenhaupt, who’s been paired up with his K-9 since March, said Waukesha County’s K-9 unit also has been called upon to assist the FBI and DEA.
He said the dogs are used primarily in searches – like for drugs, missing persons or suspects.
“Drugs is a big one. Working to get drugs off the street. That’s probably the majority of our job right now,” Wollenhaupt said.
The sheriff’s department is hosting three fundraisers for the new K-9.
There’s an all you can eat fish fry Friday at Fuzzy’s, 627 E. Main St. in Waukesha, costing $10 a person.
The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department is also hosting a K-9 motorcycle ride this Sunday, June 12.
Those wanting to participate can show up to the sheriff’s department building, 515 W. Moreland Blvd. in Waukesha, for registration at 9:00 a.m. The ride starts at 10:00 a.m. and runs until 1:00 p.m.
Monday at 11:00 a.m., the department is hosting a K-9 golf outing at The Broadlands Golf Club in North Prairie.
Those wanting to donate can also contact the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department at 262-896-8154.