Retired K-9 Dumped at Pound Is Rescued by the Man Who Trained Him

A retired K-9 dumped at the pound was rescued by his trainer.

Canine trainer Randy Hare doesn't understand how such a thing could happen, and he doesn't care to. He's given up, he says, trying to understand why people do bad things, especially to animals.

So when he got a phone call from a local pound, saying a dog that had been left there that seemed to be a K-9 officer, Hare asked for a photo, having trained several dogs for Mississippi law enforcement agencies.

When the image arrived on his phone, Hare was beside himself with anger. He knew that dog. He had trained that dog. And he knew the officer who was its partner.

Ringo, a 9-year-old Labrador retriever that had recently been retired from the Jackson Police Department, had been abandoned by his own partner, Officer Carl Ellis, the department later said. 

The department issued a statement saying K-9 officers are like "family" and that Ellis had been demoted from detective to patrol duty because of his actions.

"The Jackson Police Department respects and holds our canines with high regard just as we do any other officer within our department," the statement read. "They are family, and we do not feel they deserve anything less than a loving home in retirement."

A message seeking comment left for Ellis by was not returned. 

"I was ticked off big time," Hare told "I was hurt. You have an individual who has a dog for nine years and you take it to a shelter?"

Hare went to the shelter and adopted Ringo. The dog now lives with Hare and his family. "He'll never be abandoned again," Hare said. The trainer keeps Ringo busy by constantly throwing things for him to fetch.

"He's a sweetheart," Hare said. "He loves on everybody." He was so affectionate, the shelter employees hated to see him go. 

The department had an October retirement ceremony for Ringo, and another dog, and invited local media outlets. "They served the city very well. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, uncountable seizures with narcotics. They can be a dog now," Det. Anthony Fox said at the time.

The department gives K-9 partners the first right of refusal to adopt their dogs after the animals are retired. In its statement about Ringo, the department said the dog was believed to be living with Ellis.

"I didn't want to believe it at first," Hare said of his reaction to the arrival of Ringo's photo. "Sure enough, it was him."

After Hare adopted Ringo, the department learned from a reporter that Ellis "had took the dog somewhere to dispose of it," he said. Ellis was instructed by his superiors to call Hare and confirm the location of Ringo. "We exchanged words. I said, 'How do you that, man? Why didn't you call me?'''

"He didn't have an answer for that," Hare added.

In the end, says the man who loves animals, it matters only that Ringo wasn't put down and didn't languish at the pound because he's an older dog and most people want young pups.

Ringo has a good home. He is loved. "I didn't want him feeling like someone abandoned him," Hare said.