Despite Amputation, K-9 To Remain On Duty With Sheriff’s Office

K-9 Drago with the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office after a recent procedure to have his front left leg amputated. Drago suffered a broken leg last year and required two surgeries before the amputation. Despite the setback, the German Shepherd is expected to return to limited active duty. Submitted photo

A K-9 with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office whose front left leg was recently amputated after suffering a serious break and infection is expected to return to limited duty.

K-9 Drago has been with the Sheriff’s Office since March 2011 and used as an explosive detection animal in addition to human tracking. However, according to deputy Jason Beichner, Drago broke his leg during a training exercise and required surgery.

The surgery did not go as planned and later resulted in an infection. A second surgery took place at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in an attempt to clean the infection and repair damage from the previous procedure.

The Sheriff’s Office had hoped the second surgery would repair most of the damage and allow Drago to return to service. However, it later became clear that Drago’s left front leg had to be amputated.

The procedure took place at Russell Veterinary Hospital, and since then, the K-9 has been recovering.

Pictured, from left, are Tim Jackson, Kendall Club vice president; Beichner; K-9 Drago; and Jason Donato, Kendall Club president. Drago and Beichner were recently recognized by the Kendall for their service to the community. Submitted photo

“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Beichner said. “It was such a battle. Since (the amputation) he’s taken off in such a positive way.”

In fact, Beichner said Drago has recovered so well the decision was made to keep the German Shepherd on duty, albeit in a much smaller role. Beichner said the K-9’s energy has returned to the point that he can be used for explosive detection as in the past. Drago will not be used in everyday patrols or for tracking missing or wanted persons as other dogs with the Sheriff’s Office.

“He gets around great. He’s doing fantastic,” Beichner said. “When I leave for work all he wants to do is come with me. It’s hard leaving knowing he wants to go.”

K-9s typically live with their handlers while not on duty.

Beichner and Drago were recently recognized by the Jamestown Police Department’s Kendall Club. The pair was presented with a plaque for service to the community and assistance to Jamestown police.

See the Saturday edition of The Post-Journal to read more.