Cop’s heartless act to loyal police dog
A cold-hearted police officer from Mississippi has been demoted after his department learned he dumped his retired police dog at an animal shelter, according to new reports.
Dog trainer Randy Hare was stunned to learn that Ringo, a drug-sniffing labrador retriever who worked for nine years at the Jackson Police Department, was up for adoption at the shelter in Madison, WLBT-TV reported.
"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," Mr Hare, who trained Ringo at the Alpha K-9 centre in Jackson, told the local network.
"You just don't turn your back on something like that that's been with you for nine years.
According to the New York Post, Ringo, along with his canine colleague, Alpha, had retired from the department in October, police announced on Facebook at the time. They were replaced by two younger dogs, Angel and Nadia.
Ringo, who also worked in search and rescue and tracking, was believed to have been living out his life with his handler, Officer Carl Ellis.
But shelter workers grew suspicious that their new charge was actually a police dog - and enlisted the help of another officer, who alerted Mr Hare of the dog's whereabouts, the New York Times reported
Ellis, who was part of the drug investigations squad, was "reassigned to patrol duty," the Jackson Police Department said in a statement to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.
"The Jackson Police Department respects and holds our canines with high regard just as we do any other officer within our department," the statement said.
"They are family, and we do not feel they deserve anything less than a loving home in retirement."
In wake of the dog debacle, the department enacted new protocols that require welfare checks for active duty and retired police dogs. Ringo's incident is currently under internal review.
Mr Hare has now adopted Ringo and says he won't be working with the department going forward.
"Why would he turn his back on the dog and surrender his dog like that?" Mr Hare said to the Times.
"I never dreamt in a thousand years that he would pull this. I thought he would at least call me first and let me help him."
Retired military and police dogs are protected under "Robby's Law." The act, passed in 2000, makes the dogs available for adoption instead of being euthanised, which previously had been common practice.