MARIETTA, Ohio — A police officer in Marietta, Ohio, was hoping his K-9 partner would join him in retirement, but the city says not so fast.
Officer Mathew Hickey developed a close bond with his police dog, Ajax, and the two were together every day for the past three years. When Hickey retired from the force after 30 years of service, he tried to buy the dog from the city for $3,500.
“Ajax is a family member; he’s one of my children,” Hickey told CNN affiliate WBNS.
The problem? The city says the dog is property under state law and must be sold at auction.
He’s also city property and could probably work for another five or six years. That means that under Ohio law, Ajax must be sold at auction.
“The dog is a property of the city of Marietta. Because it is a piece of personal property, it is treated just like if it was a shovel. That’s just how it is,” Paul Bertram III, city law director, told WBNS. “I don’t know that anyone in the city of Marietta wants that to happen.”
“I’m afraid somebody might take the dog and auction way high, of course, over my head,” Hickey said.
But things are looking up for Hickey. A GoFundMe campaign raised almost $50,000 — far more than its $3,500 goal — to help buy Ajax.
Corey Orr, who set up the campaign, told CNN he “expected a few thousand (dollars in donations) but nothing like this.”
The auction date will be set on Thursday’s council meeting, according to Williams.