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Controversy over future of Hancock County K9

Agi and his handler have worked together for more than five years.
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A Hancock County village is in the middle of a controversy over its K9. The dog, and some equipment for him, were donated to McComb in 2015. His handler says the community has stepped in to provide help with some food and care through the years too. Now, the dog’s handler would like to adopt him, but he says there are a lot of hurdles when it comes to making that happen.

Agi is a 7-year-old German Shepherd. He’s worked with former McComb police officer Aaron Crawford since the start of his career as a police K9. The people we spoke with in McComb want the two to be able to stay together.

“I just think it is the right thing to do to keep the two together,” says Ed Aller, who admits he wasn’t keen on the idea of the village getting the dog but has since come around. “Sometimes the legality of things gets in the way. Everyone needs to put their differences aside and work to keep Agi with Aaron. This certainly has been the talk of the town recently.”

When it comes to the legal end of things, Agi belongs to the village of McComb.

“It is a dilemma,” says Judy Aldrich, who hopes something can be worked out to keep the two together. “I feel sorry for Aaron. I feel sorry for the dog. I know the town has legal things it has to do, but I feel the dog should stay with Aaron.”

Crawford resigned from the department in April to take another job and says his departure left the department without any officers. He says he understands that under Ohio law, if an officer leaves a canine unit while the animal is still fit for duty, they forfeit the right to purchase the animal. But some believe Agi is too old to train with another officer.

“Aaron has had him for more than 5 years,” says Aldrich. “He is the only trainer that dog has ever known. Agi should not be trained to work with another handler at the age of 7.”

Crawford says since there are no officers working in McComb right now, the K9 unit does not exist. He argues that according to the law, that gives him the right to adopt Agi and take over his care and expenses.

He says he just wants to keep his loyal partner by his side and has also asked to purchase the dog, but says he has not heard back from council members. Crawford says the issue is expected to come up at the village council’s meeting next Monday.

“I hope they can come to terms, and do what is best for the dog,” says Aldrich. “That is the most important thing in all of this.”

We reached out to the mayor of McComb, and we were referred to the Village Solicitor. We left a phone message for him, but have not heard back yet.

Here is the full statement from Crawford about Agi:

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