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Retired Texas Police Dogs Can Now Go Home With Handlers

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Police dogs and their officer partners will typically spend an entire workday together. Not only that, but sometimes they’re known to reside with one another. However, when a Texas law enforcement K-9 would retire, they weren’t always sent home with their handlers. Laws in the Lone Star State originally had these dogs treated as surplus public property. This means that, similar to patrol cars that were considered out of commission or firearms that needed to be destroyed, they could be auctioned off or destroyed as a result. That changed on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, when Texas voted yes to a constitutional amendment allowing dogs, horses, and other animals of law enforcement to be adopted, free of charge, by their handlers or other caretakers deemed “qualified.”

Retired Texas Police Dogs Can Now Go Home With Handlers

Photo: Facebook/DeLisle K-9 Officer Safety Foundation

The amendment supporting this change for the treatment of retired police dogs was backed by the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas. Its members have reportedly experienced this police dog retirement issue regularly and were always left perplexed with how to handle it. Complying with the law meant that the dogs were seen as surplus. However, the officers who worked with their K-9 partners daily were known to form a strong bond with the animals, trusting them with their lives, and seeing them as family members. Their retirements would often be recognized officially with ceremonies.

Retired Texas Police Dogs Can Now Go Home With Handlers

Photo: Facebook/DeLisle K-9 Officer Safety Foundation

In the announcement of the passing of this constitutional amendment, Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner noted that it was the right thing to do with respect to retired police dogs in Texas. Skinner is the Chair of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas’ legislative committee. “There’s been a lot of great dogs with great handlers, and the right thing should have been done by them. But it’s better late than never,” he told washingtonpost.com. Dog lovers everywhere are in agreement!