Officer Matthew Hickey, of Marietta, Ohio was set to retire and had pooled together the $3,500 it would cost to purchase his K9 partner, Ajax. Then Officer Hickey was hit with some news that completely floored him: he would not be able to purchase Ajax outright from his precinct due to an obscure Ohio state law.
As noted on Mashable, the law states: “A law enforcement officer who leaves an equine or canine unit of a law enforcement agency while the police dog or horse assigned to the officer is still fit for duty forfeits the right to purchase the animal under this section.”
Because Ajax is only 6-years-old the state says that the K9 still has several years of active duty left in him. This is where the Internet stepped the fuck up and after 23,000 signatures on a Change.org petition were gathered together the city of Marietta, Ohio was forced to respond:
From here things get pretty crazy. Because Ajax is considered straight up ‘city property’ he must be auctioned off, and still cannot be purchased directly by Officer Matthew Hickey even though Officer Hickey’s got the $3,500 in cash (the amount the city says Ajax is worth). So there will be an auction, and only former/current police officers will be able to participate in that auction (according to Mashable), and in order to ensure that Officer Hickey has enough money to purchase Ajax the Internet’s ponied up almost $60,000 TO DATE.
Here’s what the GoFundMe page states about their objective:
Officer Matthew Hickey has had K-9 Ajax for the past 4 years working alongside each other keeping Marietta safe. Officer Hickey has recently retired from the Marietta Police Department after over 30 years of excellent service to the city. Originally the city gave Hickey the ability to “purchase” Ajax for $3,500, but then rescinded the offer. Now Ajax is being put up for auction to the highest bidder. This campaign is aimed to assist the Hickeys be able to bid on Ajax in the upcoming auction. Any funds that are left over after bidding on Ajax will be donated to a K-9 fund to the purchase of bullet resistent vests for our Law Enforcement Officers furry partners.
Whatever money left over after the auction will be used to purchase protective vests for the K9 units, and therefore anyone wanting to get involved with this campaign will know that their money was not spent in vain.
The Internet catches a lot of shit for some of the nasty things that it facilitates, but it’s pretty amazing to see things like this take place. A community of complete strangers who are connected by their shared adoration of dogs and/or law enforcement came together to change one man’s life forever, and ensure that he could spend his retirement with his best friend and K9 partner Ajax.