We all like to think that dogs who work in the K-9 unit would be treated well, and while that is normally very accurate, one poor pup had a horrible experience.
It wasn't during his service though, Ringo had a great time and worked for a long time before it was finally time for him to retire. That's when it all went downhill.
Two months ago, the Jackson Police Department posted the news that it was time for Ringo and his fellow K-9 unit partner Alpha to retire. They served the community well and were now going to spend the rest of their lives living the pampered life as civilians.
"They served the city very well," Detective Anthony Fox told the Clarion-Ledger. "Hundreds of thousands of dollars, uncountable seizures with narcotics. They can be a dog now."
Ringo went home with his handler Carl Ellis. Ellis was supposed to give him a happy home to live out his life, but just weeks after his retirement the JPD learned that Ellis had dumped Ringo at an animal shelter.
The highly trained dog was brought to the Webster Animal Shelter in Madison, Mississippi, but shortly after the office left behind his former partner, the shelter notified the trainer.
Randy Hare, trainer at the Alpha Canine Training Center, was responsible for teaching Ringo all of his impressive skills in the first place. When he learned about what Ellis did, he immediately jumped to the rescue of the smart pup.
"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 explained. "You know it's just, you just don't turn your back on something like that. Next thing we knew, we got a call from an animal shelter in Madison that Ringo was actually being housed there and up for adoption."
Hare informed the JPD of what Ellis had done, and since then, Ellis has been demoted to a patrol officer.
Sergeant Roderick Holmes spoke out on the issue, "They are family, and we do not feel they deserve anything less than a loving home in retirement."
But Hare isn't convinced that they are going to do everything it takes to make sure these dogs get the best treatment once they leave the JPD, so he is reconsidering any future training that he would do for the police dogs.
"All I have to go on as far as Jackson Police Department is what's happened in the past," Hare said. "I know they have a new administration. I actually hope that they do better than they have in the past, but all I have to go on is the past."
The JPD is currently implementing a new system to ensure all K-9s retired and active are being monitored more closely. Hopefully this new policy will ensure that this never happens again.
Personally, I don't know if a demotion is enough of a punishment. As many of the comments on Facebook say, what this man did is horrible, and maybe he shouldn't be allowed to keep his job after what he did.
At the very least, hopefully the JPD will put some new policies in place to make sure that all future K-9s have happy homes to go to once they retire.