ONLY ON 3: Veterinarian says WPD K-9 struggling with being ‘cooped up’


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The veterinarian who takes care of K-9s for the Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is providing more details about a police dog that’s been off the beat since November.

“You can see (Kaas) is struggling,” Dr. Sam Smith said. “He has had a few bouts of some stress colitis from being cooped up.”

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There have been a lot of questions about how K-9 Kaas is doing. Kaas and his handler, Ofc. Stafford Brister have been off duty since November, when Brister put the dog into the car of Johnnie Williams after a chase.

Dr. Smith says he saw Kaas last month for a routine physical and noticed some changes in the dog’s behavior.

“He had to be confined to a cage basically in order to keep him,” Smith said. “I mean, he cannot be free roaming, but his health is great. He is being very well taken care of.”

A WPD spokeswoman said Brister returned to work last week as a patrol officer. Dr. Smith says he hopes Kaas will one day return to the force, as well.

“These guys are family members,” Smith said. “They live with the dogs and really respect each other, and it’s an amazing bond.”

A bond that one K-9 needs.

Dr. Smith adds that even though Kaas is doing OK right now, he worries if another handler will be able to handle the dog if and when he goes back to work.