Retired police officer Matthew Hickey from Marietta, Ohio, formed a special bond with his K9 partner Ajax over the years, treating the dog as a family member rather than a mere partner on the field. “There is a bond between us and it’s very special and I would hate to lose my buddy,” Hickey said in an interview with WTAP.
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When it was time for him to retire, Ajax had to be turned over to the force in accordance to the Ohio state law, which declares, “A law enforcement officer who leaves an equine or canine unit of a law enforcement agency while the police dog or horse assigned to the officer is still fit for duty forfeits the right to purchase the animal under this section.”
Hickey tried everything he could, even turning in a total of $3,500 to the chief of police, who rejected the offer. The police force had decided that Ajax was to be sold to auction as the law states so. “The dog is property of the city of Marietta. Because it is personal property, it is treated like a shovel. That’s just the way it is,” Marietta Law Director Paul Betram III had said.
Trying to find more ways to give his beloved dog a home with him, Hickey set up a GoFundMe page. The cause raised more than $65,000 dollars. The news got the attention of everyone as people have gone to set up a Change.org petition, calling out the city of Marietta for their unfair laws.
In a press conference organized by the city officials of Marietta last February 1, it was announced that Hickey could keep Ajax without the need to pay the money. Instead, the fund’s organizer’s are looking to donate the money to fund the production of police dog vests for K9s on duty. It comes into light, following the numerous cases of police dog deaths over America.