Vilas County Sheriff

330 Court Street
Eagle River, WI 54521
(715) 479-4441
(800) 472-7290

Sheriff Joseph Fath





History behind Vilas County Sheriff's Canine Unit:


The Vilas County Sheriff's Department Canine Unit has been in existence since April 1994. Due to the lack of funding at the time, the money to purchase the departments first K-9 was donated by the citizens of Vilas County. From that time forward, the Sheriff's K-9 unit has been giving back everything they can.

Our very first K-9 was a large German Shepard named "Yankee". After arriving in Vilas County, Yankee and his handler Deputy Charisse Aut went to work stopping crime and protecting citizens. Yankee was the backbone and pivotal proving ground for the Sheriff's canine program. Yankee did an incredible job in all his trained areas, with hundreds of drug finds, many lost people found, and demonstrations whenever asked.
The Sheriff's Department would not have their guardian of the night for very long. In October of 1998, Yankee was killed in the line of duty when he was struck by a vehicle.

Vilas County, however, would not be without a dog. Deputy Chris Hilgers and K-9 "Max" were hired shortly before the loss of Yankee. The dogs worked together for a period of time, both helping to stop crime. K-9 Max would work in Vilas County until the Spring of 1999. At that point, his handler was hired by the FBI, and K-9 Max went with him.

That would leave the County without a dog entirely. The Sheriff and the community would not let this program go away. So, in the fall of 1999, the Sheriff's Department purchased our current canine. Deputy Ty Peterson was selected to handle the next dog. After six weeks at Southern Police Canine, a training facility in North Carolina, Deputy Peterson came home to Vilas County. At his side was K-9 "Turbo". K-9 Turbo is a 70 lb. Belgian Malinios. K-9 Turbo is currently the only patrol dog on active service.

In 2003, the Sheriff's Department acquired two more crime prevention tools, when they hired Deputy Louis Horn. With Deputy Horn came two bloodhounds. The female, K-9 "Hattie" and the male K-9 "Keyotae", are trained in tracking lost people or suspects of a crime. The bloodhounds are available for use on a call out basis, but are currently not listed on active service.