Plover Police Officer Seth Pionke and K9 Bill. (Courtesy PPD)

Plover police mourning loss of retired K9 officer Bill

By Brandi Makuski

Plover police are mourning the passing of its second K9 dog, Bill.

Bill served the Plover Police Department from 2017 until he was medically retired following a cancer diagnosis in 2021. Bill was partnered with his human handler, Officer Seth Pionke, and continued to live with Pionke and his family after retirement.

Bill died early Wednesday morning, according to Police Chief Ryan Fox.

Former Plover Police Chief Dan Ault (left, now retired) presents Officer Seth Pionke with a plaque of appreciation, with a leap of approval from K9 Bill. Bill retired from the department on Oct. 1, 2021. (Metro Wire photo)

“He was awesome and everyone loved him. It’s always sad to see a dog die, especially a police K9,” Fox said Wednesday morning.

Bill previously suffered from soft-tissue sarcoma, a rare kind of cancer that grows in connective tissue. He was successfully treated in 2021.

But on the evening of June 18, Bill developed complications, and Pionke noticed his labored breathing and lethargy in the dog. Pionke rushed Bill to an emergency veterinarian clinic in Kronnenwetter.

Despite veterinary efforts, Bill was found to have a buildup of fluid around his heart, and he was put down a little after 3 p.m. on June 19.

Plover Police Officer Seth Pionke with his K9 partner Bill in 2018. (Metro Wire photo)

Pionke, who was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday, previously told the Metro Wire that Bill was deployed “numerous times” to help take illegal drugs off the streets.

Pionke said at Bill’s retirement ceremony that Bill’s finds during traffic stops sometimes led to a larger drug bust in a private residence.

Fox said on Wednesday that the loss of Bill was still raw, and he didn’t immediately know if the department would hold a ceremony honoring the dog’s service.

“Bill was loved by everyone and an asset to this department, and the community as a whole,” Fox said.