Retired Ga. Sheriff's Office K-9 Abandoned by Handler at Animal Shelter

May 9, 2024
The Liberty County Sheriff's Office has started an investigation into why a K-9 was left at an animal shelter five months after the dog retired.

By Mark Price

Source The Charlotte Observer

It’s tradition for police dogs to enjoy a dignified retirement, but that didn’t happen in the case of a K-9 deputy left homeless at a county-run shelter in southeast Georgia, investigators say.

The dog’s handler is suspected of leaving her there, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in Hinesville, Georgia.

An investigation is underway and the deputy has been reassigned “pending the outcome,” Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman said in a statement posted May 6.

Among the many questions is why Kona’s handler and presumed friend left her five months after the dog retired, officials say.

“The sheriff’s office became aware of K-9 Kona being dropped off at the shelter late afternoon on Monday, April 29. ... No notification was received from Liberty County Animal Control about the status of the retired canine. Sheriff Bowman would not agree to, and had no prior knowledge of, the retired canine being treated in this manner,” the sheriff’s office said. “The well-being and proper care of all canines, both active and retired, is of the utmost importance to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, and any allegations of mistreatment or neglect are taken very seriously.”

Kona’s former handler was transferred from the K-9 Unit to a patrol division, and his current K-9 partner was reassigned to another handler, officials said.

The sheriff’s office reports Kona was adopted one day after being left at the shelter, and her current owner is “a previous canine handler.”

She was deemed underweight on arrival at the shelter, WJCL reports. Her current owner, Kevin Schwartz of Charleston, S.C., says the 5-year-old dog’s health is quickly improving, the station said.

Kona retired from the K-9 Unit Dec. 20 and was released into the custody of her handler, which is the norm when law enforcement dogs retire. The deputy signed paperwork agreeing to be “liable for all care, maintenance, vet visits, and medical treatment,” the sheriff’s office said.

The Dutch shepherd was donated to the unit by a kennel in March 2021, officials said. She was 2 years old at the time and untrained, officials said.


©2024 The Charlotte Observer.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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