COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Retired Ohio Police Officer Matt Hickey will get to keep his K-9 Ajax.
Marietta Mayor Joe Matthew says Hickey has purchased the K-9 for $1.00. The mayor says the city’s legal consultant is talking with state attorneys to make sure all laws were followed.
Hickey handed over that $1 to the city on Thursday afternoon around 2:30 and took Ajax home for good.
“I’m speechless and I’m so very grateful. There’s no way I can thank everybody. I’m so thankful and relieved,” says Hickey.
“There are really good people out here. They’re kind, they’re considerate and they want to make things right. God bless them.”
“I hope the folks who were so quick to jump on the city of Marietta via social media will no realize the city was always working to let Ajax stay with Mr. Hickey. We just had to follow the law,” says Mayor Matthews.
Paul Bertam, law director for the City of Marietta, announced in a statement that he believes Matthew Hickey should be allowed to purchase the dog for $1.
He said that under Ohio Revised Code Section 9.62, if a canine unit is disbanded, the canine may be purchased for $1 by the law enforcement officer who was assigned to it. Bertam wrote that there is no technical definition of “canine unit” in the Revised Code. However, in the Ohio Administrative Code, a “canine unit” is described as “a canine handler who shall be a sworn law enforcement officer and a canine.”
Bertam said that there is no cross-reference between the two codes and recommended that, since Hickey and Ajax have technically been disbanded a a canine unit, Hickey should be able to purchase the dog for $1.
Social media exploded this past weekend with more than $70,000 being raised via GoFundMe.com to help the pair stay together. Officer Hickey says that money will instead go to a group called Vested Interest, which helps provide bullet proof vests to K-9 dogs.