Rockytopp Kennel donates ballistic vest for Allamakee County Sheriff K9

A fitting in”vest”ment ... Alan and Terisa Steiber recently presented a $1,400 donation to the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department. Pictured, left to right: Alan and Terisa Steiber of Rockytopp Kennel, and K9 Tyr and Deputy Ross Kolsrud of the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office. Because K9 Tyr’s ballistic vest - the first-ever for the Sheriff’s Office - is of a higher level than typically used in K9 divisions, it had to be specially ordered and had not yet arrived at the time of the photo. Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond.

by Julie Berg-Raymond

The Allamakee County Sheriff Department’s K9 Tyr is going to be safer on the job, thanks to a donation from Rockytopp Kennel - owned and operated by Alan, Terisa and Luke Steiber - in rural Lansing. Rockytopp recently donated $1,400 to the Sheriff’s Department for the purchase of a ballistic vest for its K9 deputy.
K9 Tyr, a Belgian Malinois named for the Norse god of war and justice, and his handler, Deputy Ross Kolsrud, both graduated from the K9 training program at Blue Line K9 of Minnesota, LLC, in Rushford, MN. Tyr is certified in narcotics and trained in patrol, agility, obedience, apprehension and room and building searches. He is stepping into the position being vacated by K9 Erro - Deputy Stuart Bloxham’s K9 partner for the past six years retiring in December.

Tyr’s ballistic vest, which had to be specially ordered, is a higher-level vest than those most often used in K9 divisions. “I did not feel comfortable having him wearing a lower-level vest than I’m wearing,” Kolsrud said.

Terisa said Rockytopp Kennel gave the money to the K9 division “because (Tyr) needs a vest. We donate locally throughout the year, through our kennel; we had a good year with our puppies, so we could donate more.”

Kolsrud calls the gift “amazing. We want to say thank you to Rockytopp Kennel, on behalf of the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Clark Mellick,” Kolsrud said.

The donation was, in many ways, a “no-brainer” for the family-owned and operated kennel. It would be difficult to find someone who loves dogs more than Terisa Steiber does - or who is more committed to animal welfare, in general. Rockytopp Kennel - a violation-free, USDA state-licensed, Iowa Kennel Assurance breeding facility which raises registered Australian Cattle Dogs, Boxers, Miniature Pinschers, Frenchtons and Olde English Bulldogs - holds as its highest priority the health and well-being of its puppies and dogs, Terisa said.

“We pride ourselves in raising quality dogs in a clean, controlled, bio-secure environment,” she explained. “Our puppies have been placed in therapy homes, companion homes and show homes.”

Puppies leave the kennel at eight weeks old, having followed a strict vaccination and de-worming schedule; pre-registered microchips have been inserted and the puppies are guaranteed genetically healthy, dual-registered and vet-examined. Their adults are OFA tested and certified (OFA is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, whose mission is “to promote the health and welfare of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease”).

“Our adults and puppies are well socialized, with many of them doing monthly school and nursing home facility visits,” Terisa said. “And we work closely with Dr. Ryan Hammel, Dr. Monica Wagner and the staff at Waukon Vet Service to keep everyone healthy and well cared for.” Most of their adult dogs are retired at four years old, and Rockytopp Kennel works with Ridgetop Rescue, Inc. to ensure placement of retired dogs in permanent, loving homes.

Rockytopp Kennel staff members serve on the advisory board of the Vet Tech Program at Northeast Iowa Community College; work with 4-H youth; are on the board of the Iowa Pet Breeder Association; and are active members of dog breeder organizations in several states. Terisa is president of the local dog club, Northeast Iowa Pet Professionals; and the kennel’s full-time kennel manager, Khristine Gallagher, is a board member at the Vernon County Humane Society.

“We are happy to provide Allamakee County K9 Tyr with a ballistic vest,” Terisa said of the donation. “We would like to thank Tyr, his handler, Ross Kolsrud and the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department for their service - and for their recent K9 demonstration to our dog club, Northeast Iowa Pet Professionals. The K9 Program is always accepting donations, to help continue its availability in our communities.”

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