‘Unusable asset’: Pima County donates problem police dog to Yuma
The Pima County Board of Supervisors struggled through an agenda item Tuesday, fighting through fits of laughter as they decided whether to send a nippy Sheriff's Department dog to Yuma.
"Abandonment to Yuma…I just don't know that's something we should be doing to any dogs or anyone," Supervisor Matt Heinz quipped.
"I'm not going to second that one," Supervisor Steve Christy said.
The subject came from a request by the Pima County Sheriff's Department to donate an "unusable capital asset" – a Belgian Malinois they call Messi – to the Yuma Police Department, citing that the dog is "not viable" and "has no value to the department."
County Administrator Jan Lesher explained these types of donations happen with items that specific departments deem eligible to be transferred, often with vehicles that could be used by other entities.
"But, isn't this a dog? It's not a car…and it seems like abandonment," Supervisor Sharon Bronson said.
"I think it's just harder because it's a dog…it's so sad," Supervisor Adelita Grijalva added.
PCSD Lt. Robert Krygier, who the board appointed as Sergeant at Arms earlier in the meeting, offered board members a further explanation for the request.
"We purchased the dog about a year and a half ago and tested it out, fine. It's basically bitten our handlers four times. They have attempted to train that out of it, and it has not worked," Krygier said.
"Different agencies utilize different training techniques… and Yuma PD utilizes a training technique that they're very confident they can train those behaviors out of the dog. Our agency doesn't train that way anymore, and we've gone to the limit of what we can train it, and none of the handlers are comfortable with it, basically from a safety standpoint," he said.
By donating the K9 to another department, Krygier said PCSD is hoping to give the dog a second chance.
"The dog was bred to be a police dog, and if Yuma doesn't take it, we've reached out to other agencies around the state that are willing to take the chance," he said.
The board eventually unanimously approved the request, but not before Bronson offered another contingency plan if it doesn't work out with Yuma PD.
"I love Mals (Belgian Malinois). I'll take him," she said.
This report was originally published by the Green Valley News.