K9 officer Abram retires

One of the Fort Dodge Police Department’s two K9 officers has retired after the department said he became difficult to handle.

Abram, a German shepherd who has been one of the department’s K9 officers since September 2016, was an outstanding officer, according to Police Capt. Ryan Gruenberg.

But recently, Gruenberg said Abram’s behavior had begun to cause concern.

“He is a highly-driven K9 who seeks to work,” Gruenberg said. “At times that drive has caused behavior that has been difficult for handlers to control.”

About six weeks ago, officers took Abram off-duty for further training to help get his behavior under control.

But Gruenberg said remedial training and other options proved unsuccessful.

After consulting with other trainers outside the department as well as exploring other options, it was decided to let Abram retire from the department.

While normally retired K9s live with their handlers, Gruenberg said that’s not possible in this situation, as he needs significant re-training to “understand it’s OK to just be a pet.”

Instead, Abram will be sent to a nonprofit called K9 Hero Haven, located in Pennsylvania.

“K9 Hero Haven specializes in preparing retired military and police service dogs for adoption in retirement,” Gruenberg said. “After speaking with this organization, it was evident they were fully prepared and dedicated to working with Abram into his retirement.”

Abram will arrive in his new home on June 12.

Gruenberg said the decision to have Abram retire was not an easy one.

“In the best interests of the community and our officers, we felt it was an appropriate time for Abram to be relieved of his duties,” Gruenberg said. “We are exploring the possibility of bringing another K9 into the program, but do not have a timeline in place as of now.”

The department currently has one other K9, Ozzie. a Belgian malinois.

Abram’s duties as a K9 officer included drug searches and tracking.

In 2018, Abram and his trainer, Officer Jacob Naatz, earned the United States Police Canine Association awards for Rookie Team of the Year, took second place in vehicle searches and third place overall.

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