A Williamson County Sheriff’s sergeant has been demoted after a police dog was removed from his care earlier this year.

Sheriff's office spokesman Fred Thomas told KVUE that Randy Batten was demoted from sergeant to deputy., and that he will serve on patrol without a dog. Batten had not been allowed to keep a police dog since July when K-9 Drago was taken away from him. A shift supervisor doing checks on Drago while Batten was on vacation found the K-9 with ticks and skin sores. Batten said he had recently taken Drago to the vet, who observed a few fleas but no ticks or sores.

A disciplinary committee recommended to Sheriff James Wilson after a hearing a few weeks ago that Batten be demoted for violating department policy. Thomas told KVUE that the violations were not taking care of county property and unsatisfactory work performance.

Batten was also the handler for a WCSO K-9 that got lost during a thunderstorm in March and was found dead in a drainage ditch weeks later. Batten was not disciplined for the death of that police dog, a six-year-old Dutch shepherd named Chico.