MARIETTA, Ohio (WCMH) – A former Marietta Police Officer may get to keep his K9.
Officer Matt Hickey retired suddenly last Monday, January 25, 2016. Then he learned he might not get to keep his K9 partner, Ajax.
Social media exploded this weekend with more than $60,000 being raised via GoFundMe.com to help the pair stay together. Monday, the City of Marietta made an announcement.
Officials said that Hickey will become an auxiliary officer allowing him to keep Ajax. This will remain in effect until Ajax retires from the force.
“I don’t think anybody understands that the bottom line is Ajax,” said Hickey.
For the last six years Hickey and Ajax have been inseparable. Last week when Hickey suddenly retired, that almost changed.
“I got upset when they were gonna come and take my dog away,” he said.
State law says Ajax is too young to retire and considered valuable department property.
Hickey had been quoted $3,500 to buy him, but City Council still had to approve it. When he walked in Monday and suddenly resigned, council hadn’t had the chance.
The city met with Hickey Thursday.
Here’s what Marietta Police Chief Rodney Hupp said to a packed council room Monday in the city’s Armory Building.
“The city again extends to former Officer Hickey exactly the offer I put on the table Thursday. He can be an auxiliary police officer for the city of Marietta and function as an auxiliary police officer K9 handler and keeper of Ajax,” he said.
Hickey said the offer was never solid.
“He said, “We’d look into it. Get back with ya.’ Then never got back to me, they never said anything more,” he said.
But now, he’s considering the offer.
“I mean to save my dog. I will probably go to the auxiliary,” said Hickey.
More than $60,000 was raised into the community’s GoFundMe account, to help Hickey pay for Ajax, but the city says it is just following state law. Ohio state code 9.62 states that officers are allowed to purchase their K9 partners when the dog is retired for just $1. But Ajax isn’t the one retiring in this case.