Retired Ohio police officer gets to buy K-9 partner for $1

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A recently retired Ohio police officer will now get a chance to buy his beloved K-9 partner for $1, officials said Thursday.

Marietta Police Officer Matt Hickey worked with his dog Ajax for three years and the two even lived together during that period. However, when Hickey made his plans to retire, the police dog was going to be sold at auction because, according to state law, it was city property and the dog could still work.

Earlier this week, city officials said it would allow Hickey to keep the job if he accepted an ‘auxilary’ position at the police department. Hickey refused, noting he retired in January over health concerns.

Hickey said he initially offered $3,500 (what a police dog trainer told him Ajax was worth) to police Chief Robert Hupp. However, Hupp declined the offer.

When news about the auction spread, Hickey received an outpouring of support. As of late Thursday, Hickey received more than $72,000 to buy Ajax from the planned auction. But since the money doesn’t seem to be necessary at this moment, Hickey promised to donate the left over money to a K-9 charity that buys bulletproof vests for dogs.

The city made the decision Thursday for Hickey to buy Ajax. Hickey said he’s “speechless and very grateful” that he gets to keep Ajax.

In wake of the controversy surrounding the Marietta Police Department, state lawmaker said Wednesday he was working on a bill so that retiring police officers can keep their dogs, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Democratic Sen. Lou Gentile, of Steubenville, announced that officers will be able to buy either their K-9 partner or equine unit horses at “fair market value” from law enforcement.

Officers are only allowed to keep their police dogs if the dog itself is going to retire, in which case the officer can purchase the dog for $1.

“I really, really do appreciate him (drafting the bill),” Hickey told the paper. “I guess a number of phone calls got to him, and he decided to do something.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from The Columbus Dispatch.