Most of the stories we write about K-9 officers and their four-legged-partners focus on the tight bond these teams develop. They celebrate the working relationship and the selflessness of dogs and the officers who depend on them. Not this one. This isn’t a feel-good piece, but it is worth reading through to the end.
The story begins with a K-9 officer in Mississippi. He’s in the spotlight becasue he took his retired K-9, Ringo, to the local animal shelter and gave it up for adoption.
“Ringo sniffed out drugs for the Jackson Police Department for nine years until the dog’s retirement this past October,” Fox writes. “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.”
The man who rescued him is Randy Hare. “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,” Hare, owner of the Alpha Canine Training Center, said. “You know it’s just, you just don’t turn your back on something like that–that’s been with you for nine years.”
Carl Ellis, Ringo’s K-9 officer, is the one who dumped Ringo at the shelter.
“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 wrote in a statement. “They are family, and we do not feel they deserve anything less than a loving home in retirement.”
As news of Ringo’s fate spread, many called for Ellis to answer for his actions. He has since been demoted and put back in a normal patrol unit.
It was just last October that Ringo and one other K-9 retired. At the time, the department marked the occasion with celebratory words.
“They served the city very well,” Detective Anthony Fox said at the time. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars, uncountable seizures with narcotics. They can be a dog now.”
Ringo is now back with someone who understands and respects his contributions and his abilities.