7 On Your Side helps hero police dog

7 On Your Side
March 2, 2012 6:54:59 PM PST
The German Shepherd was nearly euthanized when he was just a pup. The state police saved him and made him police dog in a small town in New York. But now after years of stellar service, the K-9 is retired, sick, and in need of expensive care, and it's owner says the town that he served has turned it's back on him.

As a decorated 9-year veteran K-9 cop, Shea the German Shepherd is used to saving lives, but now his own life is in danger.

Months ago Shea's owner, Kathleen Franklin, found two golf ball sized tumors on Shea. One was on his belly, the other found on his chest.

"It should be removed because it's only going to get bigger. And it could explode if they don't take it off," Kathleen Franklin said.

After a career of catching criminals and sniffing out drugs, the K-9 was retired two months ago by the Town of Ramapo.

His retirement plan was announced last year with much fanfare by Ramapo's Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence in a ceremony befitting any veteran officer.

"As retirement, we will keep him in food and health. We will give him health benefits like one of the guys here," St.Lawrence said before a packed ceremony in February, 2011.

But Shea's owner says the politician didn't keep his promise to give the decorated dog health benefits after all.

"Someone from the Town of Ramapo changed the account and put my name as Shea's owner," Kathleen Franklin said.

Shea's vet bills were always billed to the Ramapo Police Department.

Kathleen's husband, a police sergeant, was Shea's partner and handler. The couple is now divorcing, and last year he left Shea in the custody of his family. But Kathleen is now stuck with the cost of the surgery, as much as $2,600. Kathleen tried contacting the town but hasn't heard from them at all.

"Not a word," Kathleen Franklin said.

Kathleen says calls, faxes and even a certified letter sent to the town supervisor, Mr. St.Lawrence, were ignored. After watching the public announcement with her, 7 On Your Side called and asked Ramapo officials to explain. 7 On Your Side was told the supervisor misspoke and made a flip comment at the ceremony.

"Does that then mean that's not true? I'm confused if you state something on TV isn't that the truth?" Kathleen Franklin said.

But once we talked to the town supervisor himself, he finally put the money where his mouth is.

"Shea had a great record and I think what we will probably do, what's come to my attention, and I want to thank 7 On Your Side. We understand we need to have a more detailed policy of health care in place," St.Lawrence said.

Within hours, the supervisor polled the town board and police department and got the thumbs up.

"I would like to say thanks to 7 On Your Side for helping Shea when no one else would," said Maeve Franklin, Shea's family member said.

Shea's surgery, food, and future health care will be paid for by the town. He had surgery on Friday and is doing well.

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