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K-9 partnership vital

For the past couple of weeks, a dog and his police officer handler have been making national headlines.

A retired Marietta police officer, Matt Hickey, is fighting the city for possession of his companion, Ajax. The story of Hickey and his K-9 partner Ajax drew public attention after Marietta rejected Hickey’s $3,500 offer to buy Ajax and said the dog would have to be auctioned because Ajax was city property and could still work.

But officials now say Hickey can keep Ajax if Hickey agrees to work as an unpaid auxiliary officer. Hickey hasn’t decided whether to accept Marietta’s offer. He and Ajax were partners for four years.

Four years is a long time in the life of a service animal or pet. In many situations, when pets are taken from their long-time handlers or owners, they become depressed and even aggressive towards other people.

While we hope Ajax will end up with his handler, we are excited to have met Lawrence County’s new K-9 unit, Johnny.

Johnny will be handled by sheriff’s deputy Steve Sisler and joins Hemi, a veteran K-9 unit handled by Scott Wilson.

K-9 units have been a valuable part of law enforcement here in Lawrence County by tracking down drugs and criminals alike.

We hope when the time comes for either officer or canine to retire, county officials will do the right thing and keep their partnerships together.