MARIETTA, Ohio — In Marietta, Ohio, last night, retired police officer Matthew Hickey paid $1 and took his beloved K-9 partner home for the last time.
After more than a week of media spotlight and scrutiny over the question of whether, or not, Hickey could take the dog into retirement with him, Marietta’s city council affirmed that the law allows the officer to pay $1 and keep his partner, according to a statement posted to the Marietta, Ohio, Facebook page.
Officials announced the decision at Thursday night’s city council meeting, saying that a section of the law allows Hickey to keep the dog because the two are a “unit” and with Hickey’s retirement, the unit will disband, allowing him to keep the dog.
Matthew Hickey retired from the Marietta Police Department last month due to an injury. The former K-9 officer told CNN his original understanding was that he could keep Ajax as long as he paid the value of the working dog. Hickey said Ajax was valued between $3,500 and $4,000. The city then believed they would need to auction the dog. City officials, though, have been able to avoid both scenarios.
This reading of Ohio’s law allowed Hickey to purchase Ajax for $1.
The two worked together for four years.
“Ajax is a family member; he’s one of my children,” Hickey told CNN affiliate WBNS.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Hickey bid on Ajax had raised more than $72,000 by Wednesday morning, 20 times the department’s valuation.
Corey Orr, who set up the campaign, told CNN he “expected a few thousand [dollars] but nothing like this.” He said donations have come in from Canada, the UK, and even from as far away as Australia.
The excess money will go to Vested Interest in K-9’s Inc, the GofundMe page states. The charity provides “bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of Law Enforcement.”