The Mauston Police Department K9 Unit retired the police dog, Kantor, on Oct. 26. Kantor had served in the police department for nearly four and a half years, and was utilized 406 times throughout his career.
Kantor is retiring due to increasingly severe allergies, which have gotten progressively worse for over a year and have been interfering with his work as a police dog. Kantor was about 22 months old when the Mauston police department acquired him for their K9 unit. Since retirement, he has been living full-time as a family pet at the home of his handler, Officer Eric Sanner.
The K9 unit announced Kantor’s retirement on its Facebook page. The post reported that he was trained in “Handler Protection, Obedience, K9 Control, Criminal Apprehension, Tracking, Area Search, Building Search, and Scent Work (marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and their derivatives.”
“Kantor always displayed a willingness to work and was very excited about coming to work up to his last day… Although our vision for Kantor was for him to be a member of the Mauston Police Department for many more years, his health concerns did not make that feasible,” the post said.
Kantor had already been living with Sanner while off duty, but will now be staying there full-time.
“We’re transitioning him to a pet,” Sanner said.
Sanner says since Kantor’s retirement from the K9 unit, he has relaxed some house rules for the dog.
“I don’t get upset when the kids give him a little table scraps here and there,” he said. “Which is not something we do with a police dog.”
The Mauston police department is currently in the process of selecting a new K9 officer and dog. Sanner will not be continuing as the K9 officer for the department.
“I made the decision when I got Kantor that I was only going to handle him and when he retired, whenever that may be, I was not going to continue,” Sanner said.
Having a retired and working K9 living in the same home can be a less than ideal experience for the former.
“The retired dog would not fully understand why the new guy shows up and all of a sudden he’s going to work now with dad, (but) he can’t,” Sanner said.
According to Sanner, the police department had had Kantor for three years before he started exhibiting allergy symptoms.
“He started developing ear infections,” he said. “And then he just started developing skin irritations where he would scratch and lick himself quite extensively. We took him to the vet, we got him on pills, we gave him medicated shampoo, we changed his food. Those efforts weren’t helping. He was getting progressively worse. We started giving him a series of allergy shots… we’re hoping in the long run, he will develop an immunity to his allergens, via the shots.”
Sanner says he is hopeful that in a stable home environment, Kantor’s allergies will be easier to control.
“At home I can control where he goes, at work I can’t control that,” he said. “If I’m tracking a subject, and the subject runs through a swamp, we have to go through the swamp. Or, if he runs through a forest, we have to go through the forest.”
Kantor has allergies for 20 different allergens. Some of which can be triggered by contact with certain types of grass or trees.
Sanner said that the Mauston police deparment was very appreciative of the efforts made by the Dells Animal Hospital and Dr. Roger Sarazin.
“They’ve been fantastic in helping us through this process,” Sanner said.