When Police Officer Dan Schewe was laid off the Inkster Police Department in Michigan on June 30, he also was asked to surrender his police dog, Xander. Incredibly, Dan was asked to pay $2,000 to keep the German Shepherd Dog who had been his partner since the dog was a puppy.
"I couldn't see myself just saying 'well, I'm laid-off. Here's my gun, badge and you can take the dog too', I'm sorry, he's mine," Dan told 7 Action News.
The city of Inkster had laid off 19 other officers on the same day Dan was laid off due to financial hardship. The city had spent $10,000 in Xander's training and was reluctant to lose its investment without any compensation.
City officials said that it was a difficult situation. They considered options to sell Xander, pair him with another K9 officer who already has a K9), or, according to Dan, place him in the pound of a neighboring city.
Because of the difficulty of teaming police dogs with new handlers, the animals often retire with the K9 officer without any cost to the officer. In those cases, however, the dogs usually are much older than Xander, who is five.
Dan, 37, an 11-year veteran, has been working with Xander since he was a puppy. "I told myself: If they come to get him, they're taking me, too," said Dan.
Xander is like his third child, Dan said, and travels everywhere with him. "I just don't know what I would do without him," he said.
Fortunately for Dan and Xander, the department proposed a compromise yesterday and said they would allow Dan to keep Xander in exchange for the comp time he had accumulated on the force.
Dan and Xander are now unemployed, but at least they are unemployed together.
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