MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- There were some nervous moments this week for a central Wisconsin sheriff’s department after its K-9 went missing Sunday.
Toro, a german shepherd, bolted from his handlers with the Wood County Sheriff's Department during a drug search.
He was found in a wooded area Tuesday with a small cut on his paw, but in otherwise good condition.
That close call for Wood County got WEAU 13 News looking into how local law enforcement agencies care for their crime-fighting dogs.
WEAU got to meet Dunn County’s bloodhound named Jet.
The male dog is an 8-year-old purebred and has been a part of the K-9 unit since he was a puppy.
Jet is handled and trained by Sgt. Dale Dohms.
Sheriff Dennis Smith said deputies call the K-9 unit to sniff someone out.
“Somebody that's walked away from a home, is either mentally challenged, some kind of health issue, dementia or whatever. Or somebody who’s ran away from a vehicle that we we’re in the process of trying to stop,” Sheriff Smith said.
The dog stays with Sgt. Dohms 24/7.
Sheriff Smith said while it can take deputies hours to find someone, Jet can do it in minutes.
And while the hound saves time and money, it costs about $1,500 a year to train and keep him.
“That takes care of the dog food, the treats for doing training, shots, then we sometimes get donations from people and that will offer some money that will help pay for extras like sending Sgt. Dohms to training sessions,” Sheriff Smith said.
He said they train the animals to only be a dog deputy when their harness is on.
And if they get loose like in Wood County?
“I think he’s actually more afraid than the other people that are around him and I think he would become soft and gentle at that time,” Sheriff Smith said.
Jet will retire in a year or so and a new bloodhound named Chief is waiting for his badge.
“Jet's done very well,” Sheriff Smith said.
He added the department is considering getting another dog to search buildings and to look for drugs.
Jet has also helped with searches in neighboring counties.