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Janesville K9 battles cancer while tackling crime

JANESVILLE (WKOW) — One Janesville officer had a lot to celebrate Thursday after taking down a suspect not once, but twice so far this summer all while battling an even greater challenge.

Officer Drew Severson is K-9 officer Fred’s handler and he said the German Shepard has had a busy summer, getting to know one suspect intimately.

“We’ve had two occasions where Fred’s played a role in catching Mr. Schenck,” he said.

A suspect in a series of retail thefts, Fred has chased down Alexander Schenck twice, sending him to jail both times and leaving a personal touch on Thursday.

“Fred led the way and bit the suspect in the leg,” Severson said.

Thursday’s chase happened near Highway 51 and Black Bridge Road and according to Severson, Fred was essential in tracking down and apprehending Schenck. Still, that wasn’t Fred greatest battle that day.

Fred was diagnosed with Melanoma earlier this year. Veterinarians found the tumor in his paw.

“It’s the back left,” Severson said. “Right away we started cancer treatment.”

Though Fred’s handler said that hasn’t slowed down the dog.

“He had a seven day vacation. We both took a vacation and once his vacation was finished he went right back to work seven days after his surgery and was out on the street doing his thing,” Severson said.

He said Fred’s been taking treatment this whole time, in the form of vaccines but hit a milestone Thursday, just before his most recent arrest.

“It was his last of his first set of treatments,” Severson said.

Now Fred has to wait six months to see if he’s cancer free but for now, Severson said they’re celebrating.

A Janesville kennel, The Suites, hosted a benefit for Fred, raising about $2,500 to cover his medical services.

Severson said even if Fred is cancer-free he’ll have to take vaccines his whole life but for now, they’re focusing on whatever it takes to keep Fred on the force.

“That’s what he loves to do,” Severson said. “He just can’t stay at home and sleep in a kennel or lay around the house. He wants to be in the car, he wants to be at work and he wants to be out tracking bad guys.”

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Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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