GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A K9 found with fleas, ticks and sores has been removed from its handler by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. The same handler, Sgt. Randy Batten, was also responsible for K9 Chico, who was found dead on March 29 after escaping from his kennel during storms.
Batten left on vacation Thursday, July 14. A shift supervisor told other K9 deputies to check the welfare of the dog, named “Drago,” at Sgt. Batten’s home every six hours due to the hot weather.
When a deputy went to check on Drago for the first time, the dog’s poor condition was discovered. A supervisor had the K9 taken to a veterinarian’s office for treatment and lodging.
The next day, a second non-K9 dog owned by Batten in similar condition, was removed from his home and taken to the veterinarian.
K9 Drago will be cared for by another sheriff’s deputy handler until further notice, the department said in a statement Tuesday.
“A decision on any further action will be determined once the investigation is completed,” Captain Fred Thomas said.
In a phone call to KXAN, Batten said a description of Drago being “infested” with fleas, ticks and skin sores was not accurate. The deputy said the veterinarian found three ticks on Drago and none of them were engorged.
Batten also said his second dog went to the vet to get flea treatment and was not “removed.” When asked what he was going to do to get his dogs back, Batten said, “It’s in the department’s hands now.” He said the sheriff’s office will not let him pick up his dogs.
Deputy Batten said he was away from home dealing with a personal situation — his grandfather is in hospice care — and when he came out his dogs were gone.
Drago is a 2-year-old German Shepard. He has been with the sheriff’s office for about three months. Thomas said Sgt. Batten is in the process of getting exterminators to his house to get rid of the fleas and ticks.
Batten has been employed with the department since April 1994. He has worked in the K9 unit for more than 15 years.