|It now appears Marietta, Ohio police officer Matt|
Hickey and his partner Ajax will enjoy their
retirement together after all.
The case became national attention when it appeared that Ohio law might have separated retiring officer Matt Hickey from Ajax.
The two were inseparable as they worked, but the town of Marietta, Ohio said that when Hickey retired, he could not keep the police dog named Ajax.
This, even after Hickey offered to pay the city $3,500 for Ajax, a value set by the city.
City officials had said a state law had tied their hands. Under an Ohio law, Ajax was considered municipal property. The only legal way to let Ajax go was to sell Ajax at an auction to the highest bidder, said television station WBNS
"The dog is property of the city of Marietta," said Paul Bertram II the city's law director. "Because it is personal property, it is treated like a shovel. That's just the way it is."
Hickey worried somebody might outbid his $3,500 and keep the dog, even though he and Alex really belong together.
Marietta resident Corey Orr tried to help. He set up a GoFundMe account that raised $70,000 for Hickey. That money would be used to outbid everyone else at the auction and let Hickey keep Ajax
The latest news is good, though. The town decided that they were misreading the law and found a way to let Hickey keep Ajax, reports television station WCMH in Columbus, Ohio.
Since Hickey was the only K-9 officer on the force and was retiring, Marietta's K-9 police unit was "disbanding."
In that case, since the unit was disbanding, state law allows Hickey to buy Ajax for $1.00.
I'll note here that social media was jumping all over city of Marietta officials, but I give them some credit because they realized they had to follow the letter of the law. It was never anything personal against Hickey or Ajax.
Plus, the city did eventually find a solution that pleased everyone. I think they realized how awful it is to separarte a man and his dog for no good reason.
Hickey said he would work to clarify Ohio law so nobody has to go through the stress and uncertainty he and Ajax did. An Ohio state representative is already beginning work on legislation to accomplish this.
As for the $70,000 raised through GoFundMe, that money will go to Vested Interest in K-9s, which buys bulletproof vests for police dogs throughout the nation.
I wish Hickey and Ajax many good times together in their retirement.