Gage County Officials Change Minds, Won't Sell K-9 to Deputy
BEATRICE – The Gage County Board has rescinded a decision made two weeks ago, to authorize sale of the county sheriff’s K-9 to a deputy taking a job with the Washington County, Nebraska Sheriff’s Department.
The board rescinded the decision after getting new information from the animal’s trainer that “Buster”…a Belgian Malinois…could possibly be trained for use with another handler.
The initial decision to let the dog remain with departing deputy and handler, Colton Bebensee, did not sit well with a major donor to the drug dog program, Marilyn Coffin. She questioned why a K-9 program was being dropped by the sheriff's office and why more research wasn't done on whether the animal could be trained with a new handler.
County officials seemed unsure who now has possession of the dog and are concerned for the animal’s well-being if he remains in a kennel.
Gage County Attorney Roger Harris spoke in defense of the county board, which he said had the issue dropped in its lap because the sheriff’s department was losing the dog’s handler.
Sheriff Millard Gustafson could not be at the county board’s meeting on Wednesday, because of vacation time. Supervisor Matt Bauman said the initial concern prompting sale of the dog was for the animal's health, but now more information is needed before the matter is resolved.
Gage County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann offered an apology to donors and thanked those who donated money to help start of a K-9 program within the sheriff’s department.