• Last modified 1110 days ago (June 2, 2021)


K-9's zeal leads to $3,644 dental bill

Staff writer

Sheriff’s drug dog Karma became so excited during a training exercise that she broke and knocked out some of her teeth.

Her dental bill, approved Friday by county commissioners, totaled $3,644.

Most of the money will come out of the department’s drug forfeiture funds and the rest from the department’s drug seizure money fund, Sheriff Rob Craft said.

The accident happened when deputy Josh Meliza took Karma to Wabaunsee County for annual recertification.

While she was sniffing a truck for drugs, she turned her head too fast and hit her mouth on the wheel, Craft said.

Her canine tooth and some smaller teeth were broken.

“She’s 65 pounds of excitement,” Meliza said.

The department has had the 4-year-old Malinois since January 2020. She has been deployed more than 100 times during that year, Meliza said.

Despite her injury, Karma finished her testing.

“I was pretty proud of her,” Craft said.

A local veterinarian could pull Karma’s damaged teeth but not rebuild them, Craft said.

Kansas State University’s veterinary medicine department and a Wichita veterinarian could rebuild Karma’s teeth. The KSU clinic was less expensive, so that’s where the sheriff’s department took her for the work.

“One of the things we had to weigh is, is it worth the $3,000 to fix her?” Craft said. “We thought about pulling the teeth, but that causes other problems.”

The department considered retiring her, but didn’t want to take that route.

“She’s so eager,” Craft said. “She’s extremely hard working. When she’s on task, she’s on task; you can’t get her to do anything else.”

Last modified June 2, 2021