DAMASCUS, Va. - News 5 first told you about this story several weeks ago when Miller started raising money to keep 'Emmy' after the town council decided to take sealed bids and sell the dog.
It's a bond that some people say is unbreakable, but its especially true for this duo who worked together for the past two years at the Damascus Police Department. "You're going to get attached to your dog, you don't have a choice in the matter. If you care for the dog, the dog stays with you. You train together, you spend so much time together. She really does become more than a piece of equipment," Justin Miller said.
Former Damascus officer Justin Miller has been fighting to keep his K-9 partner 'Emmy' after he resigned from the department earlier this year.
Miller says the support from the the community and even nation-wide has been unbelievable. "I feel very blessed and grateful for all the support that's been shown for Emmy," Miller says.
Miller set up a YouCaring account to raise money to keep Emmy home, and so far he's raised over $8,000. "I do plan on bidding enough for the town to buy a brand new young trained dog, as well as enough money to put a new handler, if they have a green handler, to go through a handler's course and for the depreciated value of Emmy's kennel as well," Miller said.
He also set up a petition online to ask the Damascus Town Council and mayor to accept his bid, that already has over 96,000 signatures.
But Mayor Jack McCrady says the town hasn't changed their minds about taking bids. "[It should] either be adequate money in the bid process to acquire a new drug dog and train one of the new officers who are both certified as handlers and narcotics officers, or we will retrieve the town's property, which is Emmy the dog, and we will place her with another handler," says McCrady.
But Miller says he and Emmy are trying to stay positive and are continuing to enjoy their time together. "I hope that all this publicity and all this has brought to light just how much the general public agrees with me and agrees that it would be best for Emmy to stay with me," Miller says.
Damascus Mayor Jack McCrady says the town will start advertising for the bids this week and take them until September 8 at the next town council meeting.
McCrady says that's when they will announce who won the bid, or if there wasn't enough money that they will get Emmy back and train her with another K-9 handler.