JASPER, Ala. (WIAT) — The Walker County Sheriff’s Office needs your help to find a trained K-9 officer.

T.J. Armstrong with the WCSO said the K-9, named Joey, is a German Malinois and is privately owned by one of their deputies. He could be in the Nauvoo area near Highway 5.

“After looking at some evidence on the scene we are kind of leaning toward he was likely stolen versus he just escaped out of his kennel at this point so its still an active investigation,” Armstrong said.

Joey was last seen around 3:30 a.m. Monday. Two hours later, the dog was gone. Armstrong said after further investigation, the sheriff’s office believes he may have been stolen.

“The sheriff’s office has put out a pretty wide search from the area he was originally missing from … He was asleep in his kennel and then when [a deputy] went back out a couple hours later, the dog he was gone,” Armstrong said. “Some evidence there did lead us to believe that maybe he had been stolen. So far searches of up to a ten mile radius have not yielded results.”

WCSO said the K-9 is friendly and social but any animal that is in an unfamiliar place and approached by a stranger can be on guard. They ask that you do not try to catch the dog yourself.

Armstrong said the two-year-old K-9 was set to begin training in September. The sheriff’s office had plans to hire the dog when it passed service training.

A $1,000 cash reward is now being offered for the return of Joey. Armstrong warns against approaching Joey if you see him and says to call the sheriff’s office at 205-302-6464 and hit “one” for an emergency.