Retired K-9 Care Cut from Memphis Police Budget

Retired K-9 Care Cut from Memphis Police Budget

Memphis police dogs had the good life when it was time to hang up their crime fighting collars. The department would feed them and take care of their vet bills. Those days are now over.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong says budget cuts mean the department can no longer take care of retired police dogs. Dog handlers are being told to take the dogs, or police will find places for them.

Memphis police dogs had the good life when it was time to hang up their crime fighting collars. The department would feed them and take care of their vet bills. Those days are now over.

Police dogs are used to finding suspects in heavy brush or wooded areas. They work with their handlers, K-9 officers who rely on their dogs.

In one case, a dog named Gunner was stabbed and slashed while holding on to a suspect in Memphis. Gunner is retired, and retired police dog life in Memphis has been pretty good.

According to Armstrong, "It's been our practice that we've taken care of dogs that have been retired from the police department even though they provided no service to the police department."

Gunner and four other retired dogs, we are told, have been getting taxpayer food every month, just like the city council. The council still gets food on your dime, but the dogs won't, starting on August 1st.

"We had to make a decision," said Armstrong. "We didn't feel it was right to ask taxpayers to continue to pay those bills without getting any services from those animals anymore."

Police dogs often leave active duty and head home with their handlers. The bond between officer and K-9 is often that tight, which is what Armstrong is hoping for here.

"We're basically telling our handlers if you choose to adopt the animals you'll be responsible for their upkeep. If not, the animal will stay in our custody and we'll find a suitable home for it."

Director Armstrong says rumors that the department will put the old dogs to sleep if nobody adopts them are not true. They will be fed and cared for until new owners can be found.

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