Guss, the 20-month-old sable German Shepherd who was welcomed to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office in May, was returned last week to his kennel on the East Coast where he was purchased.
If all dogs go to heaven, Guss’ heaven is a premier police service dog training facility in Pennsylvania where he will hopefully transition to more suitably serving another community as a dual-purpose police dog.
Sheriff Ron Krebs noted in an announcement on Facebook that the decision was made after Guss consistently exhibited aggression to “cops and community members alike” beyond his handler Jay Holt.
“This is hard on Jay; he attached himself to that dog early on. Even Jay’s family became iffy suspects in Guss’ aggression,” said Krebs. “It was a gamble whether or not we would be able to work that out of him.”
For Krebs’ team, the line between liability and control in a dog trained to apprehend a suspect using his mouth was not worth toeing.
Dual-purpose K-9s are trained in both location and apprehension. Currently, the San Juan County Sheriff’s office is looking for a single-purpose dog: a hound with only location training, which includes tracking and detection of contraband, commonly narcotics.
Krebs hopes having a K-9 on staff will help locate drugs on traffic stops and prevent drugs from coming off ferries and into the community.
“Once our new K-9 gets the drug protection training down, we’re thinking of cross-training him to track and locate lost or missing persons — search and rescue. Every once in a while out here we have people with dementia who walk off into the woods.”
Deputy Holt will return to the same New England kennel to pick out a new dog in August and will return again in September for a month of training. For a dog to become a certified to work in law enforcement, they need to have 200 hours of training. Through instruction and priming at the kennel, 160 of the 200 hours will be complete.
“This time when they come back, we’ll know we have the right dog,” Krebs said.