Metro Council Votes To Care For Retired Police Animals
by Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County voted Tuesday night to make the retirement care for police animals a law.
The ordinance will provide up to $2500 dollars a year in veterinary care for dogs and horses, food and medication for the animals and 14 days of boarding for dogs.
The Metro Police Department has always provided these benefits for its retired animals, but it was only a policy that was subject to change.
"Several officers, as well as council members, decided we ought to put this into an ordinance so that we knew for sure the dogs and the horses were taken care of when they were retired," said bill co-sponsor Councilman-at-Large Tim Garrett.
The Metro Police Department has 30 K-9 officers and five retired officers. It is department policy for the dogs to tire to the homes of the partner they worked with during their time on the force.
"Because they're taking an aggressive dog you just can't place anywhere. They're bringing that dog into their home and taking care of that dog just as a family pet," said Sgt. Danny Hale with Metro's K-9 Unit.
Sgt. Hale said the department starts to evaluate K-9 officers for possible retirement after eight years of service.
"The dogs do a lot of jumping, they do a lot of hard work," Sgt. Hale said.
Once a dog retires, on average, the dog stays with the officer's family for another three of four years.
Policy does permit retired horses to be kept by someone other than a police officer. If that is the case the new law does not provide financial assistance to the new owner of the animal.
Many cities provide retirement care for police animals but the sponsors of this bill believe Nashville is the first city to vote that care into law.