Green Bay Police K-9 officer Pyro is full of energy and back to work on the force just merely two weeks after he was stabbed by a suspect with a knife.
Pyro is still recovering and being closely monitored for complications or potential infections that could arise as his wounds heal.
Pyro was attacked by a suspect identified as Sai Vang on April 7th. Vang allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Pyro multiple times in the neck after Pyro bit him while he was resisting arrest. Police were called to Vang’s home after Vang called dispatchers and said he was going to kill his father and any police officers who approached him.
Green Bay Police will have Pyro go through more training, then bring him back to work in a limited capacity.
Pyro’s handler and owner, Officer Scott Salzmann, said Pyro is ready to get back to the day-to-day life of police work.
“Anyone who knows dogs knows Belgian Malinois knows that they have a lot of energy, and I would like to say it slowly came back, but it’s definitely not the case, so he was ready to go,” Salzmann said. “Now the challenge is to hamper him and keep him back, and he’s looking at me going, ‘Hey dad, I’m ready to go to work here!’ and I’m saying, hey, we went through something pretty big here so let’s slow down and do what the doctors say.”
Pyro worked as both a tracking and drug-sniffing dog, but for now he will only be used for drug-sniffing. Tracking could cause problems for his neck, which is the area where he was stabbed.
During his recovery, Pyro had four blood transfusions, fought off pneumonia, and battled for his life through two emergency surgeries.
Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith said it’s a true miracle that Pyro survived, and he is grateful for the community’s support.
“This dog was injured on April 7th, and because he’s such a remarkable little dog he’s had such great medical care because of the officers on the scene took such good care of him,” Chief Smith said. “He’s back already and I think a lot of prayers were answered in the city of Green Bay and across the country for our dog Pyro.”
Soon after the public heard that Pyro was attacked, a Wisconsin resident created a fundraiser on Facebook for Bark N’ Blue, a nonprofit that raises funds for the Green Bay Police Department to be able to purchase, train, and support K-9s.
Bark N’ Blue also hosted a fundraiser for Pyro’s medical expenses at Bark & Brew in Suamico days after Pyro was attacked.
Those efforts raised more than $62,000 for Bark N’ Blue to donate to the Green Bay Police Department to cover Pyro’s medical bills.
There isn’t a total for Pyro’s medical expenses yet, but immediately after he was attacked his medical bills were already north of $25,000, according to Chief Smith.
The chief added that an additional $20,000 was raised for the Green Bay Police Department’s K-9 fund, which before Pyro was attacked, had about $8 in it.
T-shirts have also been made by an area company called Global Recognition, Inc. The company said orders for t-shirts were placed from all over the country, and the excess funds from those sales beyond the cost of making the t-shirts will go to Pyro’s medical expenses.
At a news conference on Monday, Officer Salzmann spoke to reporters and said he is incredibly grateful for the community rallying around Pyro, who is not only his K-9 at work, but his family dog at home.
He added that a couple of officers who were on the scene that day helped him snap out of the shock of seeing Pyro stabbed so he could quickly get to work on stopping the dog’s bleeding using a kit designated for police dogs injured in the field.
“There’s a lot of things that went right that night,” Officer Salzmann said. “Honestly when it happened I went into a little panic mode for a little bit there because you realize your partner’s hurt, and critically hurt. I went a little foggy for a minute there, and thankfully for a few officers, they know who they are, to be there to kind of prompt me to go ‘hey man, let’s start, let’s get this going.”