WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - If you have a pet, you know how quickly you can get attached. And if you have a pet that not only lives with you, but works with you, and you put your life in its hands, that's a bond that's unbreakable.
If you saw Justin Miller and his dog 'Emmy' together you would think they are best friends, but the duo has been through a lot together. That includes putting their safety at risk to protect others. "For the past 2 years I've spent more time with Emmy than I have with anyone else in my family. She's at my house all the time, I take her to work with me every day, and we train together on our days off," adds Miller.
Justin Miller is a former Damascus Police Officer and Emmy was his partner. She is a trained narcotics dog. "Emmy has also been trained to bite for fugitive apprehension. You don't really want a dog like that in the hands of the general public. I just don't want her to fall into the wrong hands," he told us.
In July of this year Miller turned in his resignation. He decided to leave his job, but he did so with the hope of keeping his partner. "Usually if a handler resigns or retires or something like that, usually the department will offer to let them buy the canine," says Miller.
We found out that's not the case this time. The Damascus Town Council voted to sell the dog and is accepting sealed bids. The minimum price is $3,000. "After a dog gets some age on it of course they are not as valuable to the community, simply because they do get older and have to be retired at some point," says Damascus mayor Jack McCrady.
Jack McCrady says Emmy was purchased with an equipment fund in May of 2012. "Unfortunately it is considered a piece of equipment and it has to be liquidated as a piece of equipment. So unfortunately we have to put it out to bid," he told us.
To Miller, Emmy isn't a piece of equipment -- she's an officer and a part of his family. That's why he is trying to raise money to keep her. "It's not fair to Emmy to be taken away from her handler and be given to someone who possibly doesn't know anything about dogs and doesn't know how to handle her," he said.
Miller says if Emmy is taken away he will be devastated, but until that time comes Emmy will stay with his family and continue to be his partner.
Miller has set up a 'You Caring' account to raise money to keep Emmy. He says any additional money left over will be given to animal shelters in the area that rely on donations. For a link to the account click here to visit the website.
The bid will be open for 30 to 60 days.