State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) will soon be introducing legislation addressing the auction of police dogs.

The legislation, which Rep. Thompson plans to formally introduce in the near future, would give political subdivisions to give retiring police officers first claim to the police dogs that have served alongside them. The bill will also include a provision regarding police horses because they are treated in the same manner as police dogs in the Ohio Revised Code.

The issue came to light most recently due to the story of Ajax and retiring Police Officer Matt Hickey in Marietta. Hickey, who recently retired after 30 years of service, wished to have his police dog, Ajax, to retire with him. However, because Ajax still had years of service remaining and was not ready for retirement, state law required that he be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Rep. Thompson’s legislation aims to revise state law to avoid this situation in the future.

In addition, because this issue occurred so closely to the shooting of Jethro, a police K9 officer in Stark County, the bill will also address the safety of police animals. Specifically, the bill will match state law to the penalties established in federal law for killing a police dog or horse.

The bill will receive a number and be referred to a committee upon being formally introduced.


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