Covering K-9 Pyro's medical care

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - While Green Bay K-9 Pyro continues to recover at the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center in Appleton after being stabbed taking down a suspect Sunday, Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith is looking at the financial impact of this unexpected emergency.

K-9 Pyro gets a pat from handler Officer Scott Salzmann (Photo: City of Green Bay)

"The team there, the vets, the professional staff, absolutely first class," Chief Smith says.

Pyro remains in 24-hour care. He has a feeding tube and fluid drains for his neck injury, but he continues to get up and move around, even getting outside.

Chief Smith says the city's K-9 officers are insured. "We do have insurance for them. Talking to our insurance carrier, we don't know what is going to be covered. Initially I was told it may be covered about $10,000, we have have a $10,000 deductible, but we are still working through that with our insurance company."

Chief Smith says they haven't received an invoice yet, but the Bark N' Blue Foundation says he never will. The foundation will get the bill instead.

"We will take care of that so everything is transparent," Bark N' Blue Foundation's Heather Heil said.

The funds raised via a fundraiser on Facebook given to the foundation will cover Pyro's medical expenses.

So far they've raised more than $33,000, and Chief Smith says walk-in donations at the police department so far total $3,630. As of Wednesday, Pyro's medical expenses have not exceeded that.

"I know the animal caregivers in all situations, some are asking why are they not stepping into these costs? They absolutely are, and do year-round. This department has seven dogs alone, and there is round-the-clock care for things going on with the dogs. They are giving them all they can, but nothing this tragic has happened where they needed to take care of him," Heil said.

So what happens to the remaining donated money? Heil says all of it will continue to go towards Pyro.

"Once Pyro goes home does not mean the road stops for him," she said. "There will be follow up appointments, medical bills, any complications. So we are going to make sure that is taken care of so the [K-9 handler Officer Scott] Salzmann family and police department family don't have to."

Other efforts will also continue, like additional training and replacing emergency kits like the one that saved K-9's life in the field.

Chief Smith says he would like all officers to have that kit, not just K-9 handlers, "so that if this happens again, we would have the same positive results with any other K-9s that get injured."

More fundraisers are planned. Bark N' Blue Foundation organized a Team Pyro Fundraiser with raffles on Thursday, April 11, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Bark & Brew, 2310 Lineville Road, Suamico. A $5 donation is suggested at the door. Find details here.

The WBAY Pet Expo is donating $1 from every admission this weekend, and donations will be accepted during the show at Shopko Hall in Ashwaubenon. You can see police K-9 demonstrations Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Click here for expo details and click on "Things to See and Do."

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