CCSO warns of misleading ‘Go Fund Me’ page

On April 18, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was notified of a “Go Fund Me” page created by Keli Behnen, to solicit funds to purchase a K9 which was once assigned to her husband.

The page indicates that $8,000 would purchase CCSO’s K9 Krennic for Deputy John Behnen.

This page is not associated with the Sheriff’s Office and contains misleading information.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is not offering K9 Krennic for sale to anyone at this time. K9 Krennic is a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, which was purchased March 6, 2017 as a dual purpose K9.  It was assigned to Deputy Behnen, after his previous dog, K9 Jerry-Lee, retired. K9 Krennic and his handler worked the road as a certified dual-purpose team for less than a year.

Knowing K9 Krennic would go unutilized for the next three-to-five month period and possibly longer, for operational purposes of the agency, it was decided to reassign the asset.

The length of time the canine goes without training is a significant risk to officer safety and a liability factor.  Deputy Behnen, who currently is out on extended leave and unable to perform the essential functions of his position, cannot properly train this canine. It is common practice to reassign a canine asset with a different handler when it is determined that the canine still has multiple years’ worth of valuable service remaining.

Deputy Behnen is already a current owner of a retired CCSO K9, Jerry Lee. Deputy Behnen and K9 Jerry Lee worked together as a dual-purpose team for approximately eight years. They have received multiple awards and accolades during their careers, and now Jerry Lee is retired and living at Deputy Behnen’s residence with him as his pet. Due to the Jerry Lee’s stellar lengthy career with Deputy Behnen, the awarding of a retired K9 to its handler occurred in this instance.

In the last 10 years, there have been instances where CCSO canines were reassigned to a new handler. At only three-years-old, K9 Krennic is nowhere close to retirement. From evaluations and continued trainings, it was determined that this canine is still a valuable asset to the agency and to the citizens of Citrus County.

All K9 deputies are informed prior to receiving their canine partner that these dogs are not to be considered pets but are strictly a working partner’. In sum, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office does not condone the misguided efforts and misleading statements made in association with the Go Fund Me page mentioned above.

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