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K-9 gets to stay with transferring Ohio police officer after outcry from residents

“K-9 Bosco went home with patrolman Kaetzel today,” a Bedford Heights PD post said

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Photo/Bedford Heights PD Facebook

By Molly Walsh
Cleveland.com

CLEVELAND — After an outcry from residents, Bedford Heights has reunited a police dog with the officer who trained the K-9 and is transferring departments.

Last week, Ryan Kaetzel said he reluctantly had to return Bosco, his beloved K-9 partner, to Bedford Heights police after deciding to transfer to Strongsville’s police department. Kaetzel had been an officer with Bedford Heights since 2011 and the K-9 handler since 2018.

But now they are together again.

“K-9 Bosco went home with patrolman Kaetzel today,” according to a Facebook post Thursday afternoon from Bedford Heights police.

The matter became public in July when Kaetzel sued Bedford Heights, saying he should be paid overtime as the department’s handler of the police dog.

When Kaetzel was informed he would have to return Bosco to the city, his attorney filed an amended complaint that accused the city and its police chief, Mike Marotta, of retaliating against the officer. The lawsuit, according to court filings, is pending before U.S. District Judge Bridget Brennan.

Before the lawsuit, Marotta told Kaetzel that the department planned to disband the K-9 program and that the officer could have Bosco. Ohio law allows for K-9 handlers to buy their police dogs for $1 each from cities. Later, Bedford Heights reversed course and ordered Kaetzel to return Bosco.

[EARLIER: Ohio officer loses battle to keep K-9 partner after transferring departments]

The decision caused the community to protest and ask the department to “do the right thing” and reunite the dog and his trainer.

A friend of Kaetzel created a GoFundMe to raise money to buy Bosco from the city because the dog is “part of that family.”

A peaceful protest was originally planned for Sunday outside of Bedford Heights City Hall, 5661 Perkins Road.

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