When Ohio police officer Matthew Hickey retired this week after 34 years on the force, he assumed that he'd be taking his police dog partner, Ajax, with him, as reported by NBC News.
But due to an Ohio law, Ajax will be auctioned off because he is valued at more than $1,000. And that law has Hickey, and the city of Marietta, fuming mad.
"I thought if I provided the money, I could buy the dog from the city," Hickey said. But an outside vendor put Ajax's value at $3,500, meaning he must go up for auction to the highest bidder.
To help Hickey in his battle to keep Ajax, donors have given thousands of dollars so that he can put in a high bid to get his beloved canine companion. A GoFundMe page has been started to raise money for Hickey to enter a bid for Ajax, with over $17,000 collected so far.
"To me, it's like raising a child," Hickey said of Ajax. "You get bonded just from the basic training."
Others who disagree with the current law include Marietta's mayor, Joe Matthews.
"Officer Hickey came in when he retired and wanted to buy the dog right then, but we couldn't do it. It's impossible," Matthews said. "I would have loved to, but the state law won't allow us."
The mayor added that he wished the state would change the law.