The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a House bill introduced by four Wake County legislators that allows the Raleigh City Council to donate animals used by the city to the employees who worked most closely with them.
That means a police officer in the city’s K9 unit would be able to adopt his canine partner after the dog retires. That is essentially prohibited under the city’s charter, which forbids employees from taking city property home with them, said police spokesman Jim Sughrue.
Now, a retired police dog might go live with its partner, Sughrue said, but it remains city property.
“They are typically cared for by their handler, but we couldn’t transfer title, so to speak,” he said, adding that the city remains involved in care and end-of-life decisions.
The bill to change that was introduced by House members Duane Hall, Yvonne Lewis Holley, Darren G. Jackson and Rosa Gill, all Wake County Democrats. It unanimously passed the House in March.
The Senate amended the bill to give the same power to cities and towns in Mecklenburg County, including Charlotte, so it must now go back to the House for final approval.
It takes an act of the legislature for Raleigh to let its K9 officers keep their dogs because under the state’s constitution local governments have only the powers given to them from the General Assembly.
The bill also would apply to Raleigh’s police horses, though Sughrue said those are typically loaned to the city and go back to their owners when their civic duty is over.