Arlington Officers Will Be Able to Officially Adopt Retiring Police Dogs

Officers will be able to legally purchase their retiring police dogs for one dollar

Arlington County police officers will officially be able to keep their K-9s when the dogs retire.

Traditionally, police dogs in Virginia have been able to remain with their handlers after the "tail-end of their careers," police said -- but there was no formal plan in place.

Now the Arlington County board has formalized a plan to make transfers official under Virginia law. The officers will be able to legally purchase their retiring police dogs for one dollar.

The board approved the move in a unanimous vote Saturday.

"These dogs work closely with their selected handler from the beginning of their canine careers until their years of service, health or safety makes it impractical for them to continue serving," said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck in a release. "Sending the dogs home with their owners is the safest and most humane way for these dogs to live out their lives."

The Arlington County Police Department has seven dogs who work full-time, including searching for suspects and evidence. Another two dogs work part-time searching for explosives.

Sheriff's deputies have just one K-9 now, after a 13-year-old black lab named Varius retired. Varius worked at seeking out narcotics, but is now living a relaxing life with his long-time handler.

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