MAYVILLE — Mayville’s K-9 Boja is retiring.
The Mayville Common Council approved on Monday selling Boja to Officer Kirsten Birch for $1. Boja was born in Germany in 2014 and joined the Mayville force in 2015. She and Birch teamed up in 2016.
Birch is leaving the Mayville Police Department for a larger agency toward the Milwaukee area, according to Police Chief Jim Ketchem. Ketchem said Monday that due to Boja’s age and history, the best idea was to sell her to her current handler.
Trained canine dogs are used by law enforcement to sniff out drugs, help with searches and even to detain suspects. Boja, a German shepherd, was trained in drug detection and search and rescue. Mayville’s K-9 program is funded mainly through donations and fundraising.
The city had to formally designate Boja as “excess property” to make the “sale.” Council member Bob Smith said that equipment the city purchased for Boja like a cage to separate the dog from other passengers in the squad car would be sold on a state website. Personal equipment like leashes would stay with Boja.
The Mayville Police Department issued a statement thanking Birch for her five years of service and congratulating Boja on a well-deserved retirement.
Mayor Rob Boelk said there are no plans at this time for the city to get another trained K-9. Training and purchasing a K-9 can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Police agencies can request other departments help out with their own K-9 dogs for drug investigations.