The pair could never be separated, but there's one big problem.
When Ohio police officer Matthew Hickey, age 57, announced his retirement, he faced a huge problem. According to a report from Fox, the City of Marietta, OH was having trouble letting the officer’s K-9 partner, a 5-year-old police dog named Ajax, go with him.
The Marietta Police Department refused to sell the dog to its retiring partner. Ohio state law allows retiring police officers to purchase their companion dog for just $1, but the city did not want to let the K-9 unit go.
Hickey originally offered a sum of $3,500 to purchase the dog, but police Chief Robert Hupp, who named the original price to Hickey, declined his offer.
City law requires that the Marietta PD put Ajax up for auction after his companion officer retired. This would give Hickey the chance to have Ajax after his retirement, but it was no guarantee. As news of the auction spread around town, citizens wanted to see the retired officer and his furry friend reunited. According to a Columbus Dispatch report, Hickey had raised $65,000 on a gofundme.com campaign by Monday afternoon from donors eager to see the pair reunited.
Hickey will use the funds from the gofundme.com campaign to buy Ajax back, and will donate the rest of the proceeds to a K-9 charity that supplies bulletproof vests for service dogs.
According to Paul Bertram III, the Marietta Law Director, there was a solution to the problem that didn’t involve ridiculous sums of money. The police department could name Hickey an “auxiliary officer,” allowing him to spend his days with Ajax until the dog reached retirement age. After Ajax is no longer of service age, Hickey would have the option to purchase the dog for $1.
Hickey still doesn’t know whether he will take the offer. “I’ve had so many calls from other K-9 officers in Ohio who said they’re so worried about losing their dogs,” said Hickey. The retiring officer says he would like to see Ohio’s law on the matter changed, and would make a decision about how to proceed once he’s talked it over with his family and union representative.