ARANSAS PASS – On May 1 the Aransas Pass Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Investigator Stephen Nanny had his K9 officer Kilo out in his yard running around as he did yard work. After Nanny put him in his kennel, an unforeseen tragedy struck that dealt a blow to not only the sheriff’s office but the county as well.
“The dog was just out enjoying the entire yard, and (Nanny) went and put him in the kennel and came back in about 20 minutes, and the canine had just laid down and died,” Aransas County Sheriff William Mills said. “The vets don’t know if it was just a undiagnosed heart condition, but we don’t know what happened. It was just a tragic death.”
Sheriff Mills added that the ACSO has had K9 officers since he took office 12 years ago, usually two at a time with a staggered time line to ensure the K9 units don’t get overworked and can retire after their work cycle of about five to six years and another, younger dog can take its place.
Unfortunately, Kilo was the younger K9 in this situation with the other K9, Urso, set for retirement in about a year. Kilo had been on the force since the fall of 2019.
Nearly three years later Aransas County is still dealing with the cost of Hurricane Harvey and on top of that the COVID-19 pandemic so Sheriff Mills knows there’s no money in the budget to replace Kilo at the moment.
The wife of Sergeant Tyler Tate, Gillian Cox, self-proclaimed dog-mom to his K9 Urso, decided to step in and create a GoFundMe to help the sheriff’s office raise money through the 100 Club of Aransas County to buy another K9 which can cost around $20,000.
The 100 Club’s overall mission is “Commitment to the Peace Officers of Aransas County to provide lifesaving equipment for officers such as ballistic vests, duty-related education, training for officers and financial aid to families of deceased officers.” In the past, the 501(c)(3) organization has provided protective armor vests, body cameras for patrol officers, bicycles and helmets for bike patrol officers, vehicle-mounted video cameras for patrol officers, funding for educational and training opportunities and $10,000 insurance policies for on-duty accidental death or dismemberment for each member of the Aransas County law enforcement community. More information can be found at 100clubofaransascounty.org or facebook.com/100ClubAransasCounty. Funds can be donated to the GoFundMe page by going to gofundme.com and searching for K9 Kilo.
Sheriff Mills stated that K9 units don’t just stay within the county limits and only search for drugs in vehicles.
“It’s also about public safety with tracking individuals that have wandered away with Alzheimer’s, dementia or kids that have gone missing,” he said. “In the past we’ve sent them to chemical plants in San Patricio County to assist in working their parking lot with some of their employee issues that they’ve had.
“So they’ve been good tools beyond just looking for drugs in a car.”