PYRO UPDATE: Injured K-9 now eating soft foods

Pyro enjoys some soft food. Photo: Green Bay Police Department

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay K-9 Pyro has added soft food to his liquid diet. That's the latest update from the animal hospital where Pyro is recovering from stab wounds.

On Friday, police said Pyro is making "great progress" but still has a long road ahead of him. They describe his eating of soft food as a "milestone."

The department also thanked the supporters who turned out at the Team Pyro fundraiser at Bark & Brew in Suamico Thursday night. The fundraiser was organized by the Bark N' Blue Foundation, a non-profit organization helping active K-9 units in Brown County.

So far the organization raised almost $40,000 this week for Pyro, but it says more money is needed. Bark N' Blue president Heather Heil says Pyro's medical bills could linger for years.

Pyro was stabbed last Sunday as officers responded to an armed suspect in the 1300 block of Western Avenue. Police say the suspect, Sai Vang, refused orders to give himself up for arrest. Pyro was deployed and jumped on Sai Vang, who stabbed the dog with a five-inch blade.

"I watched as Sai started violently swing the knife upward, in a stabbing motion, at K-9 Pyro," reads one officer's story detailed in the criminal complaint.

CLICK HERE for detailed coverage of the criminal complaint.

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith says Pyro's actions likely prevented an officer-involved shooting.

Pyro was taken to the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center in Appleton. He emergency surgery Sunday night to repair "multiple soft tissue injuries to his neck and his esophagus."

Pyro received blood and plasma transfusions and a temporary tracheostomy due to a blood clot that was preventing him from breathing. Doctors make a hole in the windpipe and insert a tube to allow the animal to breathe.

Pyro was in recovery Monday morning when he suffered complications of a twisted stomach and was taken for a second surgery.

Pyro has been making strides in his recovery. On Thursday, police said Pyro was "becoming more active and is more engaging with his handler and staff at the hospital. Officer [Scott] Salzmann and his family have been taking Pyro out for more walks and helping him continue strides to survive this tragic incident."

Suspect Sai Vang is charged with a felony and two misdemeanor counts. He's being held on a $10,000 cash bond.