An Ohio police officer from Shaker Heights is putting up a desperate fight to keep his beloved companion after deciding to move to a department in another city, but an unfortunate roadblock has made the effort anything but easy.
“It’s unfortunate because I’ve been with Igor [the dog] almost his whole life, and I know him personally. And the fact that they’re saying that he’s not slowing down and there’s no change… I don’t know who made that decision or who said that, but it’s not true,” Chad Hagan told FOX News on Monday.
“Igor’s six-and-a-half, almost seven-years-old and everyone knows the dog starts slowing down. He’s past his prime,” he continued. “We wake up in the morning, get ready for work, [and] he doesn’t want to follow me down the stairs because his body’s aching. He’s been a working dog for however many years. He’s worked hard. He’s done his time, and he deserves to be at home with the family, be comfortable and just live the rest of his life happy.”
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Igor, a German Shepherd, has worked with Chad for more than five years. His wife, Danielle, said the dog has saved Chad’s life and the lives of others on multiple occasions.
“He protects the city that he works for. He has, multiple times, had many apprehensions. He’s a narcotics search dog. He has rescued many people, and in many different situations. He’s saved Chad’s life on multiple occasions,” she said.
“He is our family. He’s my husband’s best friend. He’s with him 24/7. Igor knows no one else.”
Danielle also said Igor only responds to Chad’s commands, arguing that the dog would not respond to anyone else in the same manner.
Desperate to keep the dog, Chad claimed he even put up a $10,000 offer to retire his companion with the only family he has ever known, but that offer was rebuffed.
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“Ultimately, the chief of police said that Igor is a tool and there’s no financial number that could ever purchase him,” he said.
A statement from the city of Shaker Heights argued that the dog cannot be sold since the city’s administration lacks the authority to complete the sale.
“Igor is a six-year-old German Shepherd and, if his health remains strong, he is expected to be fit for duty for another three or four years. Officer Hagan proposed purchasing Igor. However, according to the city’s laws, the city’s administration, including the chief, has no authority to sell the dog,” the statement read.
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Still, many think the decision to keep the duo separated is an act of spite, according to Chad. He also alleged the police chief doesn’t understand the bond between K-9 and officer.
“I really don’t think that he was seeking any anyone else’s opinion during this…” he said, adding in part, “Igor’s sitting in a kennel. He’s been there for 13 days, just sitting in a cage for no reason, and it’s just not fair to him.”
A Change.org petition titled “Bring K9 Igor home” was organized by a family friend with a 25,000 signature goal. As of Monday afternoon, the petition had garnered over 17,000 signatures.
The petition reads in part: “Though O.R.C 9.62 states that K9 handlers are to pay $1.00 for their K9 partners at retirement, Officer Hagan recognized that though K9 Igor was very close to retirement he would still purchase the city a new K9 with the above stated funds. This offer was denied, due to a clear act of spite.”
The petition also claimed that the chief sought to keep Hagan in the department for two more years before he could “rightfully retire” Igor.
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