Southbound lanes of I-65 shut down in Morgan County because of damaged bridge

Deputy needs help from public to retire and replace K9 partner

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - There's a Morgan County deputy who's trying to raise money to replace her partner of 8 years.

Deputy Kristen Garrett wants to make sure there's no lapse in protection for the public as her partner retires. As lively as Xanto, an 11-year-old German Shepherd, may seem, his handler says he is slowing down.

"Us as handlers, we know when it's time. Our dogs let us know," said Garrett.

She says he's had him for the last 8 years. She adopted him from Lackland Air Force Base where he was trained and then given up after 3 years of service. Xanto needed a little more training. Garrett worked with him and it paid off for Morgan County in successful searches for drugs and people.

"We've tracked Alzheimer's patients and we've even tracked children. He's only had to actually physically apprehend one subject. The rest of them have given up," Garrett said with a smile.

Xanto even earned a spot in the Alabama Animal Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 2010 and the only law enforcement animal to earn such prestige. That was in the height of his career. Now he has more than a decade behind him.

"He's tiring out quicker, he's moving a lot slower," she said.

So Garrett is returning the loyalty to Xanto and to the people of Morgan County by trying to raise $15,000 for the department to buy another trained dog.

"It just wasn't in the budget for this year.. The sheriff got us all a raise," she explained.

She wants to make sure there's no lapse in public protection and no more hardship on Xanto.

"I just don't want him in any pain. I want to take care of that and take care of my partner like he's taken care of me."

Click here to contribute to Garrett's GoFundMe account online.

The Morgan County Sheriff's office currently has five K9 teams.