Retired Mississippi police dog rescued from animal shelter as handler gets demotion

A Mississippi cop has been demoted from the K9 unit to patrol duty after taking his retired four-legged partner to an animal shelter to be put up for adoption.

Ringo sniffed out drugs for the Jackson Police Department for nine years until the dog's retirement this past October. Nevertheless, the Labrador retriever had to be rescued recently from the Webster Animal Shelter in nearby Madison, Miss., by the man who trained him to be a police dog, WLBT-TV reported Friday.

“I don’t know that there is a word for being both hurt and mad, but I was both of them. And I still am," Randy Hare, owner of the Alpha Canine Training Center, told the station. "You know it’s just, you just don’t turn your back on something like that--that’s been with you for nine years.”

Jackson police officials said they didn’t know Ringo’s handler, Carl Ellis, had taken the canine to a shelter, the Clarion-Ledger reported.

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"The Jackson Police Department respects and holds our canines with high regard just as we do any other officer within our department," a police spokesman said, according to the paper. "They are family, and we do not feel they deserve anything less than a loving home in retirement."

The department said Ellis had been reassigned to a patrol car.

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An Oct. 23 post on the Jackson Police Department’s Facebook page took note of the retirement of Ringo and another police dog, Alpha, “from a job well (done).”

"They served the city very well,” Detective Anthony Fox said then, according to the Clarion-Ledger. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars, uncountable seizures with narcotics. They can be a dog now."