Retired Officer Forced to Bid for His K9 Partner at Auction, City Says

Officer Matthew Hickey and Ajax;  Photo: GoFundMe Page

Officer Matthew Hickey and Ajax; Photo: GoFundMe Page

A recently retired police officer in Marietta, OH won’t be able to take his longtime K9 partner into retirement with him, city officials said.

Despite the officer’s objections, the city says that the law prohibits them from allowing the K9 to retire along with his handler as long as the K9 is still fit for duty.

Officer Matthew Hickey retired earlier in the week and now finds himself struggling to raise the money needed to purchase his K9 partner Ajax, who is set to be put up for auction to the highest bidder.

“I had the money for the dog and was ready to hand it to the the chief of police, and the chief of police said he couldn’t take it,” Officer Hickey said.

State law allows a K9 handler to purchase his or her K9 partner for only $1 once the animal retires; however, in this case Ajax still has several useful years left as a service dog. The city says that because of Ajax’s continued usefulness it is bound to sell the animal like any other valuable asset.

The law also prohibits an officer retiring from out of a canine or equine unit from purchasing the dog.

Marietta Law Director Paul Bertram noted, “This particular unit, this particular dog, out of the unit, state and federal money may have been used. Therefore, we are under strict rules of how we dispose of property when we’re dealing with state and federal funds, as well as taxpayer dollars.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise funds to allow Officer Hickey to purchase Ajax at auction.


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