After thousands signed a petition supporting police dog handler Sergeant David Evans' bid to keep his dog Ivy when he retires, it's been announced today that Ivy will go to a new handler.
Sgt Evans of West Mercia Police retired last week, following 34 years of service. His daughter Jennie Evans launched the petition for four-year-old Ivy to retire at the same time, but a decision has been made for PD Ivy to continue working.
Today Jennie said this in a statement on the petition page, "We have today received a call from a Superintendent of West Mercia Police with the devastating news that they are not allowing Ivy to retire with dad, she will be re-handled. If this does not work out they may offer her back to dad (showing great animal welfare passing her from pillar to post yet again).
"We, as a family are utterly devastated at this news and also in complete and utter shock that this is the decision West Mercia have decided is best for Ivy.
"We can't thank everyone enough for all the support shown on this petition. I am not ready to leave this fight and I will be looking into other options to try and change this outcome."
Ivy and Sgt Evans have worked together for almost half a decade and more than 35,000 animals lovers signed the change.org petition calling on West Mercia Police to withdraw its order that the Malinois-German Shepherd cross be handed back to the force.
Chief Constable Bangham made a statement following the decision, "We appreciate that all our handlers form close relationships with the dogs they work with and, understandably, many want to continue that relationship when they retire.
"Sometimes at the end of the dog's working life we are able to facilitate this but we always have to consider the needs of the dog and the force at the time and to meet our obligation to spend public funds wisely and ensure best value from all our resources.
"Although the dogs live with their handlers and have close relationships with them, they are not family pets. They belong to the force and are highly valued resources.
"PD Ivy is very young and has many years service ahead of her. She will therefore stay with the force and be re-handled with another officer.
"We understand that there has been a great deal of public interest in this case following the initial decision earlier this year.
"As a result I met with Sergeant Evans to discuss the matter and offered a number of options. Unfortunately these options have been rejected and so the original decision stands.
"I would like to thank Sergeant Evans for more than 34 years service across West Mercia Police and I wish him a long and happy retirement."