By Meredith Ayan, Executive Director
Animal surrender is a subject that breaks hearts and makes tempers fly. A recent story of a police officer who dumped his retired police dog, Ringo, in a shelter left me shocked and heartbroken. The sad truth is, this officer did what many people do, but it became a news story because of Ringo’s unique history.
Most people would never surrender a pet, and we know those who do usually feel they have no other choice and can no longer care for their animal. However, when all other options have been exhausted there are some important guidelines that people should follow.
People struggling to keep their animals because of changed circumstances or any other reason should always contact the agency they adopted their pet from. Many adoption agencies have resources to help people keep their animals or can assist with re-homing to ensure the animal is placed in the best possible situation. In fact, this stipulation is outlined in most adoption agreements.
Ringo, the retired police dog, is now living with his original trainer, who will provide the retirement Ringo deserves after 9 years of service. The officer that abandoned Ringo has been demoted, and the police department is conducting an internal investigation.
We don’t know the circumstances surrounding this surrender, but we do know that police departments often don’t pay for retired K9’s ongoing care. Fortunately, the Retired Police Canine Foundation is an organization that assists with veterinary care and other expenses for retired K9 police officers.