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Lexington police K-9 back on the job after surviving fentanyl exposure

Officials say most drugs they see in Fayette County nowadays are mixed with fentanyl, which is leading to many of the overdose deaths they see.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 10:47 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington Police Department K-9 is back on the job after he was exposed to fentanyl.

Officials say most drugs they see in Fayette County nowadays are mixed with fentanyl, which is leading to many of the overdose deaths they see.

Police tell us K-9 Jax, like most of the K-9 units with Lexington Police, is trained to recognize drugs like heroin and cocaine, but pure fentanyl isn’t something he’s used to.

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Friday, Jax and Officer Kaitlin Weckerling were conducting an area search in an overgrown backyard when Jax found something.

“He looked up at me and he had a little bit of white on his nose and my heart started to sink a little bit,” said Officer Weckerling, Lexington Police Department K9-Unit.

Jax had found, what Weckerling described as, about a softball-sized pile of fentanyl in the overgrown grass. She rushed Jax back to her cruiser and within about a minute and a half, the three-year-old German Sheppard started to show the effects.

“When he started to go down, that was it. After I gave him the Narcan and we got him to the vet he started to perk up just a little bit,” said Officer Weckerling. “He was very, very, very drowsy. Didn’t have a lot of control over things like his tongue. His head would flop over every so often. It took about, for everything to wear off and for him to start feeling normal again, it took about 13 hours.”

Weckerling says something similar can happen to humans if they ingest fentanyl. It doesn’t take long for the effects to kick in and they can be deadly.

“The smallest amount can kill us and obviously with the dogs being a lot smaller, even a smaller amount can kill them,” said Officer Weckerling.

Officer Weckerling tells us that Jax is doing just fine. He took most of Saturday to recover but was able to get back out there on Sunday. She also wanted to thank the community for the messages of support for Jax that have poured in over social media.

Officer Weckerling says they don’t see many K-9 units being exposed to fentanyl like this, but the drug is extremely prevalent in Lexington.

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