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City police to auction off K9 officer as human partner retires

Posted by on Jan. 31, 2016 at 7:43 PM
  • 23 Replies

City Plans To Auction Off K9 Like ‘Property,’ Refuses To Let Retired Officer Adopt Him

Regina Lizik

A police officer’s bond with his K9 is something few can understand. It’s more than the bond of “man’s best friend.” It’s a bond that’s about trusting your entire life to someone in the deadliest of situations. It’s a bond that should never have to be broken.

Former Marietta, Ohio Police Officer Matt Hickey had every intention of taking his K9 partner, Ajax, with him when he retired. To him, his K9 partner is a member of the family. He didn’t want to leave him behind.

ajax 1

Source: Help Officer Hickey Keep Ajax/GoFundMe

Officials in Marietta, Ohio don’t see it that way.

Marietta Law Director, Paul Bertram III, told ABC23 News:

The dog is a property of the city of Marietta. It is treated just like it was if it was a shovel. That’s just the way it is.

Matt was aware that the officials held this belief, which is why he offered to pay the city $3,500 for the dog. On the day that he retired, with the money in hand, the city refused to allow him to keep his heroic best friend.

Officials told him they were going to auction off the six year old dog to the highest bidder. Anyone who is currently in, or retired from, law enforcement can bid on Ajax. People who train working dogs can also bid on the dog.

matt and ajax

Source: Marietta Times

Matt is terrified that someone will outbid him and he and Ajax will be separated forever.

He has created a GoFundMe account to help him raise funds for the auction. In the comments, retired police officers and dog trainers sounded off about the city’s actions.

Retired Officer Ronnie Fusco said:

When I retired I had to pay for my K9 partner. She was $1.00, because being “government” property they couldn’t just give her away …. Its very sad but was lucky …Officer Hickey should be afforded this same opportunity, at the very least ALL other bidders abstain.

The GoFundMe page has raised over $16,000. All funds that Matt does not use for the auction will go toward providing ballistic vests for K9 officers. There is also a petition to help keep the pair together.

by on Jan. 31, 2016 at 7:43 PM
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by Bronze Member on Jan. 31, 2016 at 11:30 PM
They've raised over $45,000 now, according to WTAP,so hopefully he is able to get his dog. I agree with Officer Hickey, they need to revise the law so this doesn't happen again.

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) UPDATE: 1/31/16 5:50PM
MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP)- The "Go Fund Me" account for Ajax, the k-9 from the Marietta Police Department, has reached more than forty-five thousand dollars.

Ajax's owner, Matt Hickey, retired from the Marietta Police Department just last week. But because of a state law, the city says his k-9 partner of several years can't join him.

They've appraised ajax at thirty-five hundred dollars and are putting him up for auction as city property.

A "Go Fund Me" page has raised thousands of dollars for hickey to purchase Ajax. As the story makes national headlines, Hickey says the support pouring in from across the country is overwhelming.

"The outpouring of the response to this is tremendous. I cannot say enough and of course I wish I could thank each and every one of them of course and I can't. But hopefully this gets out to them and tells them that we really do appreciate what's going on," said Hickey.

The auction date for Ajax has not yet been set. Hickey hopes to use the money raised from the "Go Fund Me" account to be the highest bidder.

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He also hopes this story will bring more attention to the laws that prevent police officers from keeping their k-9's.

Officer Matthew Hickey retired, but his partner of nearly four years will not be retiring with him.

Ajax the canine will be put up for auction as he is the city's property, according to state law.

Upon finding this out at last night's Marietta council meeting, one man took it upon himself to start a GoFundMe account to raise money so that Officer Hickey can bid on the dog for himself...

Officer Hickey served in law enforcement for 30 years and just retired on January 25.

He says that once he found out that the dog would be sold for $3,500 he offered to pay for the dog when he was then turned down because of state law.

Officer Hickey says that there are bigger problems in the world, but he is grateful for the support and hopes that something can be done at the state level about the situation.

"I think we need to start at the state and get legislation passed to where officers that retire in good standing gets the k-9, either medically or if they have their time in when they retire they get the dog, either for a dollar or whatever. There is a bond between us and it's very special and I would hate to lose my buddy," says Hickey.

Hickey says that several officers with canines have contacted him worried that this is going to set the precedent, but state law states that the auction process is how this must be handled.

by Platinum Member on Jan. 31, 2016 at 11:34 PM
1 mom liked this
The $1 that Fusco paid makes sense. That should be the price across the board.
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by Gold Member on Jan. 31, 2016 at 11:58 PM
1 mom liked this

Great way to show how little  they appreciate their years of service.  

by Member on Feb. 1, 2016 at 12:02 AM

Don't you just love our government? That is just sick.

by Bronze Member on Feb. 1, 2016 at 12:04 AM
That poor dog. I can't believe they care so little about their officers, both human and k9.
by Bronze Member on Feb. 1, 2016 at 12:06 AM
They should be allowed to retire wither partner. Don't the live with them?

by Platinum Member on Feb. 1, 2016 at 4:35 AM

It depends on the dog. Some of those dogs aren't pet material. 

by Boudica on Feb. 1, 2016 at 5:09 AM

The almighty buck wins again.

Capitalism at its finest (not).


by Platinum Member on Feb. 1, 2016 at 5:15 AM

I really do sympathize with the police officer but at the same time, a six year old K-9 is a valuable asset.  It seems as if the PO has probably raised enough funds to place the winning bid.

by Platinum Member on Feb. 1, 2016 at 5:17 AM

Depends on the city. Most do. In Detroit, while the dogs go home with the officers, they are required to keep them separate. They have to have a closed off area for the dog. Most have a kennel for the dog. It's a liability issue. Most are too aggressive. 

Quoting ihave1: They should be allowed to retire wither partner. Don't the live with them?


If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.

- Ben Franklin
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