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Police Chief Makes German Shepherd Stay In A Shelter Despite His Previous Handler Offering To Buy Him

Photo: George Trumpeter / Shutterstock
german shepherd police dog

A North Carolina Police Department is taking heat from people around the country over their treatment of a German Shepherd who worked for their team for years. After the dog’s handler sustained an injury and was placed on light duty, the police chief decided the dog’s fate. 

Now, many people are outraged and are demanding justice for the ailing canine. 

The chief of police placed the German Shepherd who worked for them in a shelter, despite his handler claiming that he would keep him.

The 7-year-old police K-9, named Pac-Man, had worked with his handler, Nathan Ingram, for three years at the Dunn Police Department in North Carolina. However, after sustaining an injury back in October, Ingram was placed on light duty. During this time, he was unable to work with Pac-Man. 

Ingram never expected his beloved partner to be placed in a local animal shelter while he was gone, but according to the Dunn Police Chief Cary Jackson, that is exactly what happened to him. After offering to bring Pac-Man into his home and cover the costs for a replacement dog so that they could be together and the dog could officially retire, Jackson refused to grant Ingram’s request. 

Police Chief Makes Retired German Shepherd Stay In A Shelter Despite His Previous Handler Offering To Buy HimPhoto: Change.org 

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According to Ingram, Pac-Man is on the brink of retirement, suffering from joint problems and anxiety. Since being placed in the shelter, the dog has developed a hotspot on his tail, has diarrhea, and has been put on Trazadone for his anxiety. 

Ingram, who has since left his job at the Dunn Police Department, is heartbroken by his companion’s fate. “He went to work with me every day I worked, he came home with me, stayed at my house every night, for three years. And then he was suddenly taken,” he told CBS News. “Obviously he doesn’t have a voice for himself. I can just imagine just not knowing what’s going on, like hey, why am I here this long?” 

Despite his injury, Ingram claimed that he was perfectly capable of taking care of Pac-Man, alleging that Jackson’s decision to place the dog in a shelter was an act of retaliation against Ingram for missing a photo shoot with the dog. 

Jackson, however, argued that Ingram’s injury would have prevented him from being able to properly care for the dog and that he was better off in a shelter.  

“Based on the restrictions that were issued on him by his physician, we made the decision to remove the handler from him, so he could make sure that he was receiving appropriate care," she shared in a public statement.



Despite Pac-Man’s ailments, Jackson claimed that he would not soon retire and has plans to have him back on the force soon. “It would be an injustice to K-9 Apacs to retire and not be able to do what he lives to do, which is work and provide a service to the City of Dunn,” she said.

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A statement shared by the Dunn Police Department revealed that Pac-Man had been “medically cleared” to continue working for the department, and claimed that the dog was never placed in a shelter. 

“Appropriate training for this K-9 officer/handler and Apacs has been arranged and will begin next week at no additional cost to the taxpayers of Dunn,” the statement read. “At no time has K-9 Apacs been ‘abandoned’ at the Dunn Animal Shelter. He has been personally cared for and medically cleared to continue his service as a working police dog.” 

According to the Dunn Police Department, the police dog was placed in the custody of Dunn's Animal Control Director, Courtney Hayter, when Ingram was placed on medical leave after his injury.

He was later moved to a climate-controlled kennel in the Dunn Animal Shelter as he completed a basic law enforcement training course. 

It was reported by WRAL that Sgt. Adam Sikorski will be Pac-Man’s new handler when he returns. "This is what he lives for," Sikorski told the news outlet. "Working, finding drugs, finding bad guys. We start training on Monday, which we are really excited for." 

Police Chief Makes Retired German Shepherd Stay In A Shelter Despite His Previous Handler Offering To Buy HimPhoto: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

However, Ingram insisted that Pac-Man deserved to retire after his years of service. "I just want Pac-Man to come home and would be forever grateful if he could enter into retirement and enjoy the last few years that he may have left,” he said. 

A petition was shared on Change.org urging Chief Jackson to allow the dog to retire. 

“The K-9 is in poor medical standing and is known to have leg issues,” the petition reads. “This is not the first time this has occurred with this same police department.” 

As of right now, the petition has over 22,000 signatures. 

According to the National Police Dog Foundation, police dogs usually retire around 10 years old, depending on their physical and mental condition. After they retire, the dogs usually spend the rest of their days with their handlers as family pets

Just like our human police officers, K-9 officers are dedicated and hard-working members of the community who do not deserve to be locked up in a kennel as thanks for their service. Instead, they should spend their retirement with their beloved partners, who will love on them for the remainder of their lives. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.