A former Virginia police officer who resigned from his department in July is facing opposition in the attempt to keep his K-9 partner, Roanoke.com reported August 7. He plans to fight to keep the K-9 partner the city plans to auction off.
Justin Miller, a former Damascus K-9 handler resigned from his position last month, along with former Police Chief Bill Nulley. Justin disagreed with some decisions made by town council regarding the treatment of the town's police department, and decided to leave the job he loved.
One of the best parts of his job was his dog Emmy, a Dutch shepherd who lived with Justin and his family. She was a part of her life for two years, and Justin thought his contract stated Emmy belonged to him.
Justin bought Emmy's food and paid some of her vet bills, and he considered her a permanent member of his family. Justin turned to social media to help, asking for a minimum of $3,000 to bid on Emmy. The response has been overwhelming. On the YouCaring link set up, where more than $7,500 has been raised, Justin stated
"It was my understanding that after 2 years of service Emmy belonged to me in return for me caring for her. However, only a few days after my resignation I was contacted by the Interim Chief of Police demanding I turn Emmy in because she was Town property."
Unfortunately, Damascus Mayor Jack McCrady says it's not possible for Justin to keep the dog. The town council has voted to put Emmy up for public auction. Since the dog was purchased using federal money, she's considered equipment. And any equipment purchased with a grant has to be liquidated by an auction.
The town has also been in the process of interviewing two officers with K-9 certification, so the possibility has been out there to put Emmy to work with another handler. Usually a K-9 officer only has one partner during its career, but that doesn't always happen.
Justin posted on the change.org petition posted here, which now has more than 75,000 signatures.
"Not only that, but Mayor Jack McCrady has said publicly that they may not accept my bid even if I raise the money to bid on her. My fellow canine handlers know the strength of the bond built between a canine and it's handler, and tearing that bond apart is damaging, both to the dog, and the handler. Help me keep Emmy at home with her family, where she belongs."
Justin plans to donate any excess funds to local animal shelters who don't receive federal funding.
A Facebook: Keep Emmy Home page has also been set up to spread the word on Justin's desire to keep his family together.
Please support Justin in his efforts to have his family member returned to him. Share this story with friends, and help in any way possible.
No links to officials have been linked into this article, It may be best to allow Justin to handle this situation on his own. I will be in touch with him later this evening, and may amend this if he believes contacting Mayor McCrady would help.