BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – Early Tuesday morning, a Bedford Heights K-9 officer reluctantly handed over his beloved dog to the police department.

Future of Bedford Heights police dog causing controversy

It’s a move that has sparked controversy in the city.

The dog’s handler, Ryan Kaetzel, is leaving the department, and while he wants to take Bosco with him, supervisors say the highly-trained animal belongs to the city. Kaetzel, who has been with the department since 2018, has worked alongside Bosco for the past five years and said Bosco is nearing a point in his career where he could retire.

“Just unbelievable that I have to surrender my senior dog,” said Kaetzel. “That’s what I’m worried about him, he’s not going to have much longer, and I want him to spend his senior years with me.”

Kaetzel reluctantly gave up Bosco at the department around 6:30 a.m. During the exchange, he was surrounded by family and fellow K-9 officers, who came to show their support.

FOX 8 Photo

“You’re with them 24/7, he’s a family member, he is an absolute family member,” said Kaetzel.

Kaetzel says the Bedford Heights police chief initially told him that the city would sell the canine to him for $1, but then rescinded the offer. Police supervisors maintain there was never an agreement and that Bosco will now be assigned to a new canine officer.

Bosco_Bedford Heights Police Dog
(FOX 8 Photo)

They say the dog was purchased, trained, and maintained by taxpayers as a valuable member of the police department.

A Go Fund Me account has been created by a friend of Kaetzel’s. The page’s organizer said the goal is to raise $15,000, to “pay back the city” the cost of training and maintaining a police dog so that Kaetzel is able to keep Bosco.

“If the department decides to let the Keatzels keep Bosco we will donate the donations to the animal shelters around our area,” reads the Go Fund Me page.

You can find the page, here.