Bullet-proof ... dog? Kevlar for the sheriff’s K-9

Cliff likely is the only officer who will fling drool on his Kevlar vest.

The German boxer starting next week will don an extra-large size armored vest when he goes into the field for the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department.
“We consider Cliff an officer, and we want to do our best to protect him,” said sheriff’s Capt. Mike Horstman.

The black and sturdy 5-pound vest is both bullet- and stab-proof, and will give Cliff a layer of protection, said handler Deputy Brandon Stoughtenger.

The $840 vest was donated to Cliff through the Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog program, a nonprofit organization that aims to vest each law enforcement dog in the state, said President Donna Morgan.

Since it was founded in 2005, the organization has provided 53 dogs with vests, she said.

Cliff’s vest donor is Michael Hartman, a UW Hospital doctor who learned of the Vest-A-Dog program after a fatal crash in his area Dec. 18.

The girl killed, 16-year-old Carly Batz, had a passion for German shepherds, so staff at her mother’s veterinarian clinic near Madison collected money for the Vest-A-Dog program in her memory, Morgan said. Hartman knew a vet at the clinic and donated the funds for Cliff.

The teen’s family, Hartman and Cliff will meet in the near future, Morgan said.

Cliff in mid-September became the department’s first K-9 and was donated by George Markos and Cathy Hubert-Markos of Bachbett Kennels in Mindoro.

Cliff is trained in narcotics detection, evidence recovery and tracking people.

Not doggin’ it

Since October, Cliff has ...

- been on duty 102 days and used 141 times

- done tracking 14 times and led to the arrest of 40 people

- spent 36 hours at community events

Cliff has found ...

- 606 grams of marijuana

- 308 items of drug paraphernalia

- 96 Ecstasy pills

- 46 grams of methamphetamine

- Six items of evidence

- Trace amounts of cocaine and heroin


Go online to www.wivestadog.org to learn more about the Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog program. Contact organization President Donna Morgan at (608) 752-3539 if interested in volunteering for the program.


The La Crossse County Sheriff's Department has a new K-9 Deputy.  The K-9 is Cliff von Grand Kevin, who is commonly referred to as "Cliff".  Cliff is a purebred German Boxer owned by George Markos and Cathy Hubert-Markos of the Bachbett Kennels in Mindoro.

Cliff will be leased long term from the Bachbett Kennels and will be assigned as the partner of Deputy Brandon Stoughtenger, a 6 year veteran of the Sheriff's Department.

Cliff will be used for narcotic detection work as well as tracking and evidence recovery.  Cliff has won awards for his superior tracking ability and he will be very beneficial in tracking missing persons such as children and endangered adults.  In addition, Cliff will be used to track suspects and criminals.

We would like to thank:
  • The West Central Drug Enforcement Task Force
  • Nutro Dog Food/ PETCO

  • La Crosse Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Mark Mattison and his associates for donating veterinary care

They have all helped to offset costs associated with our K-9 addition.  Minimal funding was provided through the Sheriff's Department budget.