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Edgerton City Council OKs $39,000 dog-bite settlement

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
September 10, 2011
— The saga of Ash, Edgerton’s biting police dog, unrolled further this week when the Edgerton City Council OK’d a $39,000 insurance settlement for a Wisconsin Dells officer bitten during training in 2010.

The bite incident happened on April 13, 2010, while Ash was in training at Steinig Tal Kennel in Campbellsport. While under the control of Edgerton Police Chief Tom Klubertanz, Ash bit a Wisconsin Dells officer who was at the kennel training his own dog.


The officer was handing a dog leash to Klubertanz when Ash reportedly lunged and bit the officer’s wrist and one of his hands, according to the Wisconsin Dells Police Department.


The bites left the officer with puncture wounds and a laceration, the department reported.


In a memo released this week, City Attorney Dale Pope explained that under state law, K-9 handlers are liable when their dog bites someone unless the bite happens to a crime suspect while the dog is performing a police function.


Pope wrote in the memo that the bites didn’t meet that exception because Ash was not actively engaged in training to attack or apprehend a crime suspect.


The bites to the Wisconsin Dells officer happened a few weeks before Ash bit and injured Stephanie Balis, an administrative assistant at the Edgerton Police Department.


The bites to Balis prompted the city to pull the dog from service. The city later sold Ash to K-9 Services, a K-9 training facility in Albuquerque, N.M.


After selling Ash, the council suspended the city’s K-9 program indefinitely. Despite discussions last year about whether to rekindle the program, the city council has decided not to buy another police dog.


K-9 Services owner Kevin Sheldahl said this week that Ash has since washed out of K-9 training.


Sheldahl said he’s had no problems with Ash, but he said the dog has little drive for police work and has failed to meet psychological profiles of a K-9 dog. Sheldahl plans to give Ash to a family without children.



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