Fate of Ohio K9 Ajax hangs in the balance as partner rejects City’s offer
WTAP is reporting today, Tuesday, that Ohio retired officer Matt Hickey declined the offer extended to him by the Marietta Police Department regarding his K9 partner, Ajax. Their offer was for Hickey to agree to become an auxiliary member of the Department, which would have enabled him to keep his K9, without having to bid on or purchase his partner. According to previous reports, and in a press conference held by the City, the same offer was extended to Hickey by the Department, prior to his retirement.
However, according to the GoFundMe, “Help Officer Hickey Keep Ajax”, which, as of today, has amassed over $70,000 in donations, and was created with a goal of just $3,500, there was a major flaw in how the City presented their solution to Hickey. A flaw that may have contributed to Hickey’s decision to decline the City’s offer. That is, the position of auxiliary officer had not been approved before it was offered to Officer Hickey, before he retired. Further, Officer Hickey would still need clearance from his physician to return to duty, even as an auxiliary officer. Auxiliarypolice officers are law enforcement officers attached to a police department and provide support to full-time officers. Generally, auxiliary officers may be paid or unpaid and may be armed or unarmed. Their responsibilities may include assisting in crowd and traffic control, neighborhood patrols and security detail.
In light of Hickey’s recent decision to reject their offer, the City’s current stand on auctioning off K9 Ajax, as reportedhere, appears to have remained unchanged. The negative publicity surrounding the situation has left Ohio lawmakers scrambling to find a viable solution.
They are currently working on an amendment to House Bill 60, which relates to the treatment of companion animals, to include a provision for police dogs and their handlers. The amendment would allow a K9’s handler to acquire their animal for one dollar upon leaving the force. Ohio State Representative Andy Thompson would like to find a solution to the issue, so it doesn’t reemerge down the line. “These animals are unique and have a special bond with the officers that they work with.” This Care2 petition was also launched regarding allowing K9 Ajax to remain with Hickey. That petition is still open for comments and signatures. As of today, over 71,000 supporters have added their names and comments to the petition.