K-9 officer resigns in protest over dog's health
Charlie, a former Ocean City Police Department dog, is shown below with Earl Campbell, who sought to have the dog retired from duty to have pain-lessening surgery.
OCEAN CITY -- Earl Campbell walked into Ocean City Police Department headquarters on Dec. 5 and paid $1 to become the owner of Charlie, his longtime K-9 partner who was in urgent need of surgery.
Campbell then walked out to his car and told his wife he couldn't abide the way the department had let the dog suffer, in pain, for the past week. It was enough, he felt, for him to resign in protest. The former OCPD officer tendered his resignation by email from the passenger seat on the way home. Then they took Charlie to undergo a surgical procedure from which he is now recovering.
Campbell said he is deeply upset with the way police leaders responded to his urging that his dog be retired so Campbell could assume ownership and pay for the 7-year-old German shepherd's medical care. He first requested the dog be retired Nov. 28, but was unable to garner department approval until a week later.
"I basically couldn't honestly put my dog out on the street and put someone in danger," Campbell said of Charlie, who was losing more and more feeling in his hind legs.
Campbell was also on medical leave.
On Nov. 30, Campbell determined his dog was suffering and would need surgery as soon as possible. As Charlie's condition worsened, the delay grew increasingly unacceptable, he said.
Response from the chief
The reasons for Campbell's disgruntlement and resignation were likely a result of miscommunication and misunderstanding, and so was the delay in the dog's retirement, according to Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.
Charlie had been injured on duty in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove three vertebrae from his spine. Scar tissue formed that began to put pressure on his spinal cord, which caused a loss of use in his hind legs.
It was initially minor but went quickly downhill over a recent two-week period.
The dog needed a $6,000 surgery to remove the tissue, and Campbell knew OCPD was unlikely to spend more to keep Charlie on active duty. He said he didn't expect them to, since they had spent a great deal of money in the past to ensure Charlie's health.
Campbell and DiPino both said Campbell never, at any point, asked the department to pay for the surgery.
In accordance with OCPD policy, DiPino has to approve the retirement, and a document must be provided by a veterinarian stating the dog is no longer fit for police work, she said. Read more
Re: K-9 officer resigns in protest over dog's health
So much red tape... poor doggie, I hope he's recovering.
Everyone is responsible for their own happiness.
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