An Ohio police officer who is set to move to a new city has been left devastated after his chief refused to allow him to take his K-9 partner with him, despite offering a $10,000 cash donation to the force.
Officer Chad Hagen has worked with his K-9, a six-year-old German shepherd named Igor, for five years at the City of Shaker Heights Police Department.
During that time the pair have developed a unique bond with the dog spending most of his time with his human officer, even living at home with his wife and young child.
‘He’s been with us through our first home, our forever home, marriage, having a baby. Been with us through everything,’ Danielle Hagan, Chad’s wife, said to WOIO. ‘We’re the only family that he knows.’
But with Hagen’s departure, Police Chief Wayne Hudson, wants the police dog to remain with the force, noting how he has several years of service left to give the community.
Ohio police officer Chad Hagen who is moving to a new force says his chief has denied his request to take his K-9 partner, Igor, along with him, despite offering $10,000
Chad is pictured together with his wife, Danielle, and of course Igor the German Shepherd K-9 officer
Hagen is leaving the force to move to another job in law enforcement closer to where he lives and did not believe his request and subsequent offer of cash was unreasonable.
When Officer Hagen gave his two-weeks notice on Thanksgiving he was instructed turn Igor in at a local kennel – all at local taxpayers’ expense.
‘The first thing that was said to him by the chief was, ‘We need to figure out what we’re going to do with Igor.’ That kind of struck Chad the wrong way. He wasn’t saying he was leaving. So, when that happened he was like ‘Well wow … that kind of a slap in the face,” Danielle Hagen explained.
‘We offered $10,000 of our own money and to be honest, I guarantee Chad would have paid more than that. But, the chief came back and said no financial number will be considered,’ she said.
The City of Shaker Heights have said the administration does not have the authority to sell the dog and that Igor is expected to return to duty.
Officer Chad and Danielle say Igor, left, has been a part of their family for more than five years
‘He’s been with us through our first home, our forever home, marriage, having a baby. Been with us through everything,’ Danielle Hagan, Chad’s wife, said
Hagen’s family say the police chief is being spiteful in refusing to allow the dog to leave with him. Igor, left is pictured alongside ‘his little human sister’
Police Chief Wayne Hudson, wants the police dog to remain in service with the force, noting how he has several years of service left to give the community
Chief Hudson stated: ‘It (K9 Igor) is a tool and there is no financial amount that would be considered.’
A Change.org petition has now been created with more than 5,500 signatures, championing the family’s cause to have the dog live out his days with them.
The petition alleges the chief is acting out of spite in stopping Hagen from taking the dog with him.
The chief offered Hagen a deal: stay with Shaker Police for two more years and only then, upon Hagen’s leaving, could Igor could retire.
But Officer Hagan rejected the offer and proposed purchasing the K-9 instead.
‘The bond that Officer Hagan and K9 Igor have is beyond what anyone could ever imagine. K9 Igor has saved Officer Hagan’s life on multiple occasions. K9 Igor is not a ‘tool’. He is a beloved member of the Hagan family and Officer Hagan’s best friend. This is truly the worst heart break this family has ever been through. ‘
But the city insists that the police department is simply sticking to the rules.
Some police departments have been known to allow their handlers to purchase their partners for a nominal charge of $1
Igor features in many of the family’s photographs and hope he may be allowed to keep him
When Officer Hagen gave his two-weeks notice on Thanksgiving he was instructed turn Igor, left, in at a local kennel all at the taxpayers’ expense
It may be difficult to retrain Igor to bond with a new handler now that Officer Hagen has left
Officer Chad Hagen and k-9 Igor share a unique bond having worked alongside one another for five years at the City of Shaker Heights Police Department
‘Igor is a six-year-old German Shepherd and if his health remains strong he is expected to be fit for duty keeping the residents of Shaker Heights safe for another three of four years. He shows no sign of slowing down,’ the city wrote in a statement.
‘Officer Hagan proposed purchasing Igor however according to the city’s laws, the city’s administration including the chief, has no authority to sell the dog.’
Despite the chief’s belief Igor could continue working for some time, Danielle says she believes the K-9 has slowed down and may realistically only work in law enforcement for another 18 months to two years.
She also cites other police forces including Cleveland Heights that have allowed their officers to buy their canine partners after just four years of service for a little as one dollar.
‘Bring him home, let him live out the rest of his happy years with his brother and his sister and fetching the ball in the backyard,’ said Brittany Santiago, a family friend, to News5Cleveland.
‘It’s hard. It’s been difficult. There’s a lot of emotions, a lot at stake,’ said Santiago.
Those signing the petition have left words of advice for the police chief.
An online petition has been set up which has garnered more than 3,600 signatures
Officer Hagen and Igor are seen on patrol in the city of Shaker Heights, Ohio
Igor has been placed in kennels while the police force decides what to do with him
‘Chief Wayne Hudson, you should be ashamed of yourself. Less than a year with this department and you bring this kind of disgrace. Do what is right for this loyal K9 officer, his handler and family and let him live out the rest of his years with the family that raised and loved him,’ wrote Leigh Ann Cook.
‘Igor has served his city, it’s time for him to retire and enjoy the family life after years of hard work! Outrageous they are using him in a game of power. Bring him home!!’ demanded Makenzie Olivares.
‘That’s just pathetic they have poor Igor sitting in a kennel when all the officer wants to do is take him home and even offered money for a new K9. Why wouldn’t you just let the officer take his partner home. Gotta love the ones making that decision. SAD,’ stated Cindy Lichty.
‘Enough of the abuse of power. This dog is not only Officer Hagan’s partner but a part of his family. Let Igor retire with the ONLY family he knows and loves,’ added Crystal Blasinsky.
The police department has since responded to allegations of vindictiveness on behalf of the chief in a lengthy statement.
‘Rather than acting out of vindictiveness, Chief Hudson is following the requirements of the law, and acting in the best interests of the residents of Shaker Heights to protect the considerable investment the City has made in Igor, the police dog,’ the department explained.
‘While Chief Hudson is empathetic to Officer Hagan and his family’s feelings about Igor, Officer Hagan understood when he became a K-9 officer, as do all K-9 officers, that the dogs they work with are a highly trained integral part of the Shaker Heights Police Department that provide a service in protecting the community.
‘It is the responsibility and priority of the Chief and the City’s administration to protect the safety of the citizens of the City. Any attack on the judgment and character of the Chief on this issue is unwarranted and unjust.’