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Liberty County Sheriff's Office investigating K-9 unit

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office was informed that a retired canine named Kona was surrendered to the Liberty County Animal Shelter on April 29 by one of its employees, Deputy Trevon Tolson.

The Sheriff’s Office became aware of K-9 Kona being dropped off at the shelter by K-9 Sgt. Jessy Kilgore and through social media posts. No notification was received from Liberty County Animal Control about the status of the retired canine. Sheriff Will Bowman would not agree to, and had no prior knowledge of, the retired canine being treated in this manner, according to the sheriff’s office. The well-being and proper care of all canines, both active and retired, is of the utmost importance to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, and any allegations of mistreatment or neglect are taken very seriously, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Sheriff Bowman recently adopted two dogs from the shelter, immediately ordered an internal investigation into the incident. In the interim, Deputy Tolson has been reassigned to a patrol position, and his current K-9 partner was reassigned to a different handler, pending the outcome of the investigation. K-9 Kona was adopted by a previous canine handler the day following her being surrendered to the shelter.

K-9 Kona was retired and released to Deputy Tolson on December 20, 2023. When a canine is retired, the handler may be offered the opportunity to adopt it, provided they assume all medical responsibilities as outlined in a signed agreement. The adoptee is liable for all care, maintenance, vet visits, and medical treatment of the canine.

Previously, on March 21, 2024, the Liberty County Sheriff's Office initiated an internal investigation into its K-9 Division following a complaint of falsified training documents. On that same date, Sheriff Bowman was informed that Lt. Corey Nadeau and Sgt. David Abbgy, the supervisors of the K-9 Division, had forged training documents to recertify the working canines within the sheriff's office. Lt. Nadeau and Sgt. Abbgy resigned prior to the investigation being completed.

After the internal investigation was concluded, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was notified and asked to conduct a criminal investigation regarding the alleged falsified records being reported to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.). The results of the GBI investigation have been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council for determination of possible criminal charges. This step was taken to ensure the utmost transparency and to reassure the public and all stakeholders of the ongoing commitment to providing professional law enforcement services to the community, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Bowman is committed to maintaining a strong canine unit, and any allegations of improper handling or training of these valuable assets will be vigorously investigated, the office added in a statement.


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