SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition urging a St. Joseph County’s police department to allow a police dog to retire and join his former handler’s family.
The South Bend Tribune reports that St. Joseph County police have rejected calls for the retirement of Flash, saying the 5-year-old German shepherd is capable of working several more years for their K-9 unit.
A public outcry began after Mike Beigelbeck left the department last month to take a private security job at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. He was paired as a canine officer with Flash for three years.
More than 111,500 people as of Friday morning have signed an online petition asking the department to retire Flash and give him to Beigelbeck’s family. Police say the petition hasn’t caused the department to rethink its decision.