You would think that a K-9 and his handler who live together and serve the community together has the right to stay together for the rest of their lives after one of them or both retires, however, that’s not how things go, unfortunately.
The story of Matthew Hickey and Ajax, his k-9 Partner for four years is taking the Internet by storm, and people are not happy.
Officer Hickey who retired just last Monday has served the city of Marietta, Ohio for more than 30 years, and he’s now being denied the right to spend his post-retirement life with his dog.
Before he retired, Hickey -understandably- wanted his canine to retire with him, so he asked how much was the dog worth, and he was told his canine’s value was seat at $3,500. He set up a GoFundMe site to raise the necessary funds and the community’s response was incredible. The money was collected in record time, and so in his final day of work, he tried to hand the money to his captain.
He was shocked when he was told that he would be unable to purchase the dog.
Well, for two main reasons:
A- In the eyes of the law, Ajax is no different than a pack of paper, he (or any dog in his situation) is considered a property that belongs to the city of Marietta and is considered a valuable asset.
B- Ohio state law has restrictions on what can be done with Active Police dogs.
According to the Ohio State Code 9.62, Police officers are allowed to purchase retiring canine partners for just $1, however, Ajax is not the one retiring.. It’s Officer Hickey. The law specifically denies retiring police officers the right to purchase the dog at this price.
He is considered a valuable asset, so the state law in this case requires that Ajax is offered to the highest bidder.
Officer Hickey is seriously worried that someone might outbid him and get his buddy for a price beyond his means.
Although the action is restricted only to police officers( whether active or retired) and K9 officer trainers and there will be no fellow police officers trying to outbid Hickey, nothing is guaranteed and he could lose his buddy.
So far, GoFundMe had raised more than $22,000 for Hickey to use to try and get his buddy, you can still donate and any excess funds will be used to purchase bullet-proof vests for Canine officers.
For the time being, Hickey and Ajax are staying together, the bidding will start sometime next week and the process will take several weeks to complete, till this happens, the pair will have to live with the fear of being separated.
Situations like these are bound to happen again unless the state law go through some changes to support K9 partnerships in retirement, but even then, communities could simply choose to keep their police dogs- even after the handlers retire.
What do you think can be done to prevent similar unfortunate situations and struggles?