Madison, MS – A Jackson Police Department (JPD) detective was demoted after the agency learned that he surrendered his retired K9 partner to an animal shelter.
K9 Ringo, a Labrador Retriever, served as a narcotics officer alongside Jackson Police Detective Carl Ellis for nearly a decade, KCCI reported.
In October, K9 Ringo retired from the police force, and was “thought to be living with his handler” ever since, the JPD said in a statement, according to the Clarion Ledger.
The agency later learned that Det. Ellis had given K9 Ringo to an animal shelter shortly after the police K9 was retired, and that the dog was subsequently adopted by his former trainer.
Alpha Canine Training Center’s Randy Hare, who has trained police K9 officers for the past 40 years, said he was shocked when he spotted K9 Ringo on the animal shelter's website, KCCI reported.
He said he trained K9 Ringo nine years ago, and recognized him immediately.
“Regardless of how it happened or why it happened – it happened,” Hare said. “They were supposed to retire with their handlers and be with their handlers.”
Hare immediately adopted K9 Ringo.
The JPD has since demoted K9 Ringo’s former handler to “patrol duty,” the Clarion Ledger reported.
"The Jackson Police Department respects and holds our canines with high regard just as we do any other officer within our department," the department said in a statement. "They are family, and we do not feel they deserve anything less than a loving home in retirement."
JPD Chief James Davis said he has “implemented protocol which requires quarterly welfare checks for all canines, both active duty and retired,” the statement read.
The agency is also drafting policy that will outline specific requirements “related to retired canines and their welfare, so that they are provided with the best care possible,” the department said.
“You get into this business because you appreciate dogs and what they’re able to do,” Hare told KCCI.
He said that many police K9s are treated very well, but that some are treated more as a “piece of equipment.”
“And when they’re treated like equipment, sometimes they’re disposed of like equipment,” K9 Ringo’s new owner said.