Sandwich police K-9 ‘Diesel’ all set for some needed dental work

Sandwich Police Department K-9 Diesel (photo provided)

A veteran member of the Sandwich Police Department is in need of some dental work.

In this case, the dental work is especially important since the department member, Diesel, is the department’s K-9 and relies heavily on his teeth while on the job.

Police Chief James Bianchi recently notified City Council members that Diesel will be going in for a root canal and cap at the University of Illinois Veterinary Hospital.

With a 50% discount due to Diesel’s status as a police K-9, the dental work is expected to cost between $3,000 and $5,000, Bianchi said.

Diesel is the only K-9 on the Sandwich police force and K-9 Officer Keith Rominski said police work and training is very hard on the working dog’s teeth.

“Bite work with bite suits and sleeves, and even the reward toys, like tennis balls, are very abrasive to their teeth,” Rominski said in an email. “I noticed his bite was getting weaker and he would favor one side of his mouth and adjust his bite.”

When Diesel was undergoing an unrelated medical procedure last year, Rominski asked the veterinarian to check his teeth while he was down, and was told that one of his canines needed a possible root canal and cap.

Bianchi said Diesel was having difficulty eating, emphasizing the need for the procedure.

“We want to make sure he’s a strong, healthy little guy,” said Bianchi.

Mayor Todd Latham said he didn’t think a K-9 with dentures would work for police purposes, and told Bianchi that Diesel may be getting promoted to Sergeant, should he pass his dental exam.

Diesel, originally from the Czech Republic, was bought by the department in Aug. 2016 from a police and military kennel in Indiana.

Rominski has been with him from the start and has done all of his training, with the assistance of the state police.

Shortly after he was acquired, Rominski and Diesel reported to the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield for a 10-week K-9 academy. He also requires 16 hours of continuous training each month to keep up his certifications.

Diesel is trained in narcotics detection, tracking, evidence and article location, apprehension and handler protection.

“He’s been very valuable,” said Bianchi. “Not only community-wise, but also tactically, helping locate people, working with our SWAT team and undercover people.”

Bianchi also noted that he often gets called out to assist other agencies and help with the searches of schools.

Diesel has lived with Rominski and his family since 2016 and goes with them on vacations. Rominski said Diesel is good with his kids, and plans to purchase him upon his retirement.

Romniski said that Diesel and the department have received a great deal of community support since they got him, helping to reduce his cost to the department.

Rominski said vet care usually is a huge cost for most K-9 programs, especially with working dogs.

Diesel’s past vet care has all been donated by Dr. Zollars at the TriCounty Vet Clinic in Earlville, providing his monthly heart medicine, flea/tick preventative, X-rays and more at no cost to the department.

Diesel’s other dental work has been done by Dr. Juriga in Oswego, where the department also received a large discount.

Pet Supplies Plus has donated all of his food for the past six years, and Side Track’d Bar in Sandwich had a fundraiser for him last summer to purchase a bullet/stab proof vest.