K9 police dogs provide an invaluable service to their departments, and they form a close inseparable bond with their handlers. These officers usually also adopt their K9 companion, resulting in a lifelong partnership both on and off duty.
But now, one trooper is upset after being separated from his beloved partner, and is fighting for the right to adopt her.
Trooper Christopher Garcia is a highway patrolman in the Nevada Highway Patrol, and the handler to a four-year-old narcotics detection K9 named Nala. The two have a bond that goes well beyond the line of duty.
“She’s a huge daddy’s girl. I just love her,” Garcia told KOLO. “She’s part of the family. Off duty she’s with me, she’s just a big love.”
However, the two were recently abruptly separated. According to the outlet, Nala was taken out of service after a non-aggressive nipping incident involving his girlfriend’s 11-year-old child. Garcia reported the incident and says he was promised that Nala would not be taken away from him.
But when Garcia asked to adopt Nala, the department refused, saying it was a liability if they adopted her out to him. He was ordered to surrender Nala on January 17.
Garcia’s persistent efforts to find a way to bring Nala home have failed. He says other handlers in his department have been able to adopt their K9 partners when their time of service came to an end, but the department is not budging.
Adding insult to injury, Garcia says he’s also been relocated to a desk job, and feels the department is doing an injustice to both him and Nala after years of service.
“She dedicated two years of her life working for the state and I felt like she was being shuffled out the back door,” he told KOLO. “She did not deserve to have her world turned upside down and put in the care of someone she had never met before. If the department had no issue adopting her out or placing her somewhere, there is no better place for her to be than in her home with me.”
“It’s just concerning, the integrity at this point and I think they’re just building public mistrust and they need to do the right thing and if the financial is a concern, we will cover it. We have no problem purchasing her,” Garcia told News 4 – Fox 11.
Garcia’s cause has received widespread attention and support, and a Facebook page titled Bring K9 Nala Home has been set up to campaign for their reunion.
The Nevada Highway Patrol responded with their own statement: “To improve performance and ensure renewed certification, the department determined canine Nala needed remedial training and other support, including an up-to-date veterinary examination,” they wrote. “These steps will help to ensure a long and healthy law enforcement career serving the citizens of Nevada.”
“Canine Nala’s welfare is a priority for the department, and she remains in good health and good hands. This matter is the subject of an internal administrative review, and the Department is unable to provide any further comment or details at this time.”
It’s heartbreaking for both Nala and Trooper Garcia to be separated like this, and hope the situation is resolved.
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