by ALEXANDRA RETTER
After eight years of helping the Winona County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) with everything from finding suspects who are hiding in a building to locating missing people to detecting drugs, K9 Cleo is approaching her well-deserved retirement, and the WCSO is beginning the process of finding and training a new K9. Community members may support these efforts with donations.
“She’s worked hard for eight years for us, so it’s time to let her take it easy,” Sheriff Ron Ganrude shared. In addition to finding people and drugs, Cleo took part in many public demonstrations throughout the community, and she won numerous awards.
The Winona County Board recently approved Cleo’s upcoming retirement. She will live with her handler, Deputy Adam Carlson. The board also approved the WCSO purchasing a new dog and paying for her or him to be trained.
Cleo will be able to stay at home with her family more than she did while she was working, Carlson said. He plans to keep completing some training with her to help her stay healthy, but the training will be less extensive than it was when she was on the job.
“In all, she will have a very stress-free retirement,” Carlson shared.
With board approval, the WCSO is seeking donations to support the purchase and training of a new K9. Some community members and local businesses have made donations. It costs about $17,000 to purchase and train a new K9, and between donations that have already been made and money that was raised through a K9 trial event put on by Carlson, the office has about $9,825 saved.
As the K9 will be used throughout Winona County, the WCSO is going before the Lewiston and Goodview city councils to ask if they would wish to provide funding, Ganrude said. The office is also aiming to speak with the St. Charles City Council, he added.
A deposit has been put down for a new dog, Ganrude said. The office will next look for a litter of dogs from which they would like to get a K9. The dog will be a Belgian Malinois like Cleo.
Those interested in making a donation may contact Ganrude or Carlson. They may also send a check to the WCSO.