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The First Year

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It’s tradition for police dogs to enjoy a dignified retirement, but that didn’t happen in the case of a K-9 deputy left homeless at a county-run shelter in southeast Georgia, investigators say.

The dog’s handler is suspected of leaving her there, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in Hinesville, Georgia.

An investigation is underway and the deputy has been reassigned “pending the outcome,” Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman said in a statement posted May 6.

Among the many questions is why Kona’s handler and presumed friend left her five months after the dog retired, officials say.

“The sheriff’s office became aware of K-9 Kona being dropped off at the shelter late afternoon on Monday, April 29. ... No notification was received from Liberty County Animal Control about the status of the retired canine. Sheriff Bowman would not agree to, and had no prior knowledge of, the retired canine being treated in this manner,” the sheriff’s office said. “The well-being and proper care of all canines, both active and retired, is of the utmost importance to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, and any allegations of mistreatment or neglect are taken very seriously.”

Kona’s former handler was transferred from the K-9 Unit to a patrol division, and his current K-9 partner was reassigned to another handler, officials said.

The sheriff’s office reports Kona was adopted one day after being left at the shelter, and her current owner is “a previous canine handler.”


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