Three Sheriff's K9s passed away this year, five last year

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A dog should not just be considered man's best friend, but police officers' too. However, unfortunately for the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, three of their canine pals have been lost to illness this year and five passed away the previous year.

Deputy Wes Boone is among one of the officers who lost his canine partner, Bowie, to cancer at the end of last April.

"One day he just wasn't acting right," Boone said.

Boone was partnered with his canine for seven-and-a-half years and came to think of him as more than just a dog.

"It's like a family member," Boone said. "You treat him like your son, your child because your with him 24/7."

Deputy Brad Lessila lost his canine partner last Wednesday, May 28th. Like Boone, Lessila thought of his canine as more than just part of the job.

"He was my best friend," Lessila said. "He was a family member - he meant a lot to my entire family."

However, these dogs do not just provide company to on-duty officers - they also complete a myriad of other services. Apprehending suspects and sniffing out narcotics are just a few of the task patrol dogs perform. Among other things, Boone's canine partner frequently assisted U.S. Marshals in capturing fugitives.

Unfortunately for the County Sheriff's Office, there will be far fewer patrol dogs this summer. However, the office hopes to replace them this fall.

"The department depends on them," Boone said.