By Brandi Makuski
Officers from the Plover Police Department and village staff came together on Oct. 1 to bid farewell to their K9 officer, Bill.
After installing its K9 Unit in late 2016, its first dog, a two-year-old German shepherd named Ice, developed some behavioral problems after less than a year on the job. The department replaced Ice with Bill, a German shepherd-malinois.
But Bill developed soft-tissue sarcoma, a rare kind of cancer that grows in connective tissue. Bill’s handler, Officer Seth Pionke, took the dog for cancer surgery at UW-Madison, which was followed by three weeks of radiation therapy.
Once in remission and back on the job, Bill was deployed numerous times to help take illegal drugs off the streets. Pionke said the department didn’t track how many drugs the dog was responsible for locating, adding that Bill’s finds during traffic stops sometimes lead to a larger drug bust in a private residence.
Police Chief Dan Ault presented Pionke with a plaque of appreciation and a photo album of his time working with Bill on the job. Bill will remain in Pionke’s care while Pionke returns to patrol as the department’s first Crime Prevention Officer.