Polk retires K9 Ike after health problems

Published 10:00 pm Friday, December 23, 2016

COLUMBUS– Polk County Sheriff’s Office K9 Ike has officially been retired by the county after he suffered health problems.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Dec. 19 and officially retired Ike, who is about 7 years old. Ike was given to his handler Ronnie Russell. 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office K9 Ike was recently retired after he began suffering from seizures.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office K9 Ike was recently retired after he began suffering from seizures.

Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill spoke during the county’s Dec. 19 meeting about Ike, a German Shepherd who became sick a couple of months ago.

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Hill said Ike stopped eating and after x-rays were taken at the veterinarian’s office, it was discovered Ike had a mass on his spleen. The mass was removed successfully but Ike then began having unexpected seizures, according to Hill. Hill said the seizures are violent and last for about three minutes and the vets have not yet figured out the cause. The vets recommended that Ike be taken to a specialist in Greenville, for which Hill said the sheriff’s office does not have the funding.

“I have $3,000 to take care of two dogs for a whole year,” Hill told commissioners. “Considering what the dog does, it’s a safety issue for the dog and the officer both. I don’t want the officer tied up with some thug with a gun and both of them end up getting killed.”

Hill said officer Russell is willing to take care of Ike and his medical costs as long as he has to. Hill said Russell and Ike have an obvious bond.

“It’s just like a child,” Hill said. “If your child is sick you take care of your child. If your K9 is sick you take care of your dog.”

Hill said Ike was purchased with seizure money by the sheriff’s office in 2013 when he was 16 months old. Ike was obtained after the sheriff’s office lost K9 Trixie, also a German Shepherd, who suddenly died of cancer in 2013. Russell was also Trixie’s handler. 

Ike is trained in narcotics, tracking, building searches, article and area searches and criminal apprehensions. Ike was instrumental in several drug arrests during his time with the county.

Hill said Ike has a pending case for the federal government in Rutherford County for a drug seizure.

Commissioners and Russell signed an agreement for Russell to provide housing, medical care and food for Ike and for Russell to hold harmless the sheriff’s office as well as acknowledging that Russell knows Ike is a K9 and knows what the dog is capable of doing.

Hill said Russell keeps Ike in the house all the time currently and has asked officers in the past to volunteer to sit with Ike because of his seizures.

Commissioners approved the agreement and resolution to retire Ike.

The sheriff’s office has another K9, Rento, a Dutch Shepherd, who is handled by officer Jared McFalls.

Following is a resolution the Polk County Board of Commissioners approved on Dec. 19 authorizing the retirement of K9 Ike with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

WHEREAS, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office owns a certain K-9 Officer known as Ike; and

WHEREAS, K-9 Ike will retire from his position as police canine effective Dec. 31, 2016; and

WHEREAS, the Polk County Board of Commissioners, by this resolution, wishes to express its great appreciation to K-9 Ike for his service, loyalty and dedication to the citizens of Polk County; and

WHEREAS, North Carolina General Statute 160A-266 permits the county to sell K-9 Ike by private sale, upon authorization by the board of commissioners at a regular meeting and 10-day notice to the public; and

WHEREAS, the board of commissioners is convened in a regular meeting;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the board of commissioners, in accordance with NCGS 160A-266, hereby declare K-9 Ike to be surplus property upon his retirement from service and authorizes his assigned handler, Ronnie Russell, to take ownership of K-9 Ike 10 days after the date of publication of a public notice summarizing the contents of this resolution, Mr. Russell’s execution of an agreement for the proper care of K-9 Ike for the remainder of K-9 Ike’s life and for Russell to hold the county of Polk harmless for any cause of action or claim arising after Russell’s ownership of K-9 Ike.