Sheriff’s K-9 Zeus to be retired at open house Tuesday


Sibley County Sheriff’s K-9 Zeus and Deputy Jeremy Templin will be honored at an open house for media and county employees Tuesday from 2-3 p.m. in the Sibley County Courthouse Annex Basement.

Zeus, who is 10, was retired from service April 30, 2010 because of medical reasons, ending an eight-year career with the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office. His presence in and service to Sibley County has been appreciated, according to Sheriff Bruce Ponath.

Zeus, a German Shepherd dog, came from a rescue shelter and, after being evaluated, began his training to become a K-9 in 2002. K-9 Zeus and Deputy Jeremy Templin completed the 14-week training course and graduated from Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Basic Canine Handler School on May 23, 2002.

During the Basic Handler Training Course, K-9 Zeus and Deputy Templin learned obedience, which laid the foundation for Zeus in learning to obey commands given to him. Zeus learned to obey both verbal and hand commands. He also learned agility functions, such as jumping over six foot walls, climbing stairs, crawling under decks and crawling through culverts. Zeus went on to learn how to conduct tracks of people who ran from law enforcement, as well as locating missing people. He learned how to conduct open area and building searches for people who were hiding from law enforcement. He learned article/evidence recovery and, finally, criminal apprehension, where Zeus was able to apprehend a suspect who ran from law enforcement by biting the suspect and preventing escape.

After completing the Basic Canine Handler Course, Zeus began his service with the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office in June 2002. Later that year, Zeus and Deputy Templin returned to Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office to attend Narcotic Detector Training and graduated from that class on Dec. 13, 2002. K-9 Zeus was then able to detect illegal narcotics including cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine.

After beginning service in June 2002, K-9 Zeus and Deputy Templin became members of the United States Police Canine Association, a national organization that sets standards for police canine training and certification. K-9 Zeus and Deputy Templin received annual certifications for narcotic detection and for police patrol dog.

On average, there were between 70 to 80 police canines attending annual regional certifications in the State of Minnesota and competing with Zeus. K-9 Zeus received the following awards during his Police Patrol Dog certifications : July 2005 – third place overall, July 2006 – second place in agility, July 2007 – second place in obedience.

In 2005, K-9 Zeus and Deputy Templin attended the National Police Patrol Dog certification field trials in Indiana. Zeus competed with police canines from across the United States and received a National Certification of Excellence.

K-9 Zeus and Deputy Templin received help throughout Zeus’ career. Deputy Shaun Pomplun assisted with police patrol dog training, in suspect searches and criminal apprehension.

Donations were gratefully received from area non-profit organizations and local fire departments, which made it possible to build agility equipment and purchase training equipment. A bullet proof vest was also purchased for Zeus, using some of the donated funds.