Several petition to keep K9 in St. Joseph County

NOW: Several petition to keep K9 in St. Joseph County

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – A petition has been created and signed after a St. Joseph County K9 officer is not scheduled to leave the force even as his former handler, Mike Beiglebeck has.

ABC 57’s anchor, Breanne Palmerini sat down and talked with both sides of the controversy.

Flash is a five-year-old K9 who has a special bond with his former partner.

Beiglebeck decided to leave the department to work in the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.

When Beiglebeck left for his training, out-of-state, the county kept Flash on the force.

“It's devastating, we're making plans for him to be here, and then to get the call that they made a different decision and they're going to assign him to a new handler, our hearts just broke for the dog." Beth Beiglebeck, Mike’s sister, said.

The online petition was created by an Illinois woman who heard about Flash’s story. The petition has been signed nearly 100,000 times.

Assistant Chief Bill Thompson said the petition may be irrelevant.

"I don't even know what the number is up to, but I'm not sure that there's a magic number where we would say oh gosh, let's change our minds. We've got to look at it as the officer left the department, the dog did not. Our default position would be to try and get as much service time as we can out of the animal." Thompson said.

Every department handles K9 departures differently and at different ages.

"We also recognize that K9 handlers become very close to their dogs, that's part of what makes those teams so successful, so we want to make sure that we are sensitive to that side as well." Thompson spoke on behalf of the St. Joseph County Police.

At this time, Flash is currently in a private kennel and the force will look at retirement if he does not adapt to his new handler.

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