L-R: K9 Lexa, and her human partner, Deputy Brad Mathwich, Sheriff Mike Lukas, and Deputy Jeff Sadlemyer with his K9 partner, Indy. (Metro Wire photo)

Deputies debuts new K9 plushies

By Brandi Makuski

The Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office is now selling K9 “plushies” with the likeness of its two dogs.

(Metro Wire photo)

Following police departments in Stevens Point and Plover, which launched the sales of their stuffed K9 dogs in 2019 and 2022, respectively, the sheriff’s office last week announced it received its first batch of stuffed K9 dogs.

Sheriff Mike Lukas said the PCSO was getting numerous requests for the plush dogs, which he called “plushies.”

The dogs sell for $25 a piece and the proceeds help support the department’s K9 unit. The PCSO has two K9 dogs, Lexa and Indy, both dual-purpose Belgian Malinois trained in tracking drugs and people.

Lukas estimated it costs about $5,000 a year to maintain each dog, including about $140 a month in food and regular vet checkups

“But you’ve got to look at the benefits of having these K9s,” Lukas said. “The drug seizures, having the ability to track people, it’s a benefit for the community. It’s like having another officer on the road but an officer would cost about $150,000 a year for salary and benefits.”

Deputy Brad Mathwich, who’s partnered with Lexa, said he and other K9 officers are seeing an uptick in meth busts across the county.

“[Drug abusers] switched to heroin for a while but now they’re back to meth because it’s cheaper,” he said.

Lukas said only a limited number of plush dogs were available—and this batch only just arrived last week after being ordered six months ago. The dog can be purchased at the PCSO records window, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1500 Strongs Ave.