FIRST ON 3: Retired K-9 abandoned at home where deputy evicted - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FIRST ON 3

FIRST ON 3: Retired K-9 abandoned at home where deputy evicted

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A Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department uniform sits on the curb outside the Myrick home Thursday afternoon. WRCBtv.com photo A Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department uniform sits on the curb outside the Myrick home Thursday afternoon. WRCBtv.com photo
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond has placed HCSO Deputy Donald Myrick on administrative leave, with pay, pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation currently under way.

A retired police K-9 was found abandoned at the same home where a Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy was evicted.

Retired K9 Falco was removed from same location where Deputy Donnie Myrick was evicted.

HES seized Falco on Aug. 17 from "unacceptable living conditions." 

The Humane Educational Society first got involved back in May when a concerned neighbor noticed Deputy Myrick had moved out, but his retired K9 officer was still caged in the front yard.

"I have not seen this here since I've been here, I have not seen it honestly around the country," said HES Director Bob Citrullo, "Where it was something where someone let the animal go that long like this, it's not the norm."

When HES first met retired K9 Officer Falco he was living in a cage outside the North Dent home.
    
Deputy Donnie Myrick told the agency he was making daily trips to feed and care for his former partner.
    
Myrick told HES he had to move out and was trying to find Falco a new home.

"In the beginning he was trying, the owner was trying, to definitely find a place to put him where he could be cared for by somebody who understands a K9's behavior that has this type of training," Citrullo said.

But months passed and Falco was still caged. HES checked on him again in August, and took pictures and video of his condition, that's when they decided falco needed better care.

"The dog's coat was array, there was leaves, it was wet, the dog house had broken in half so water ran and was coming into the dog house," Citrullo said.

Deputy Myrick never responded to the impound notice tagged on Falco's cage.

Days later Myrick signed over his rights to the dog during a work-related police call.

"And it happened that one of our officers was on the scene where he was involved in another situation," Citrullo explains, "So our officers talked with him and said hey, we wanted to follow up with you, we've taken the dog."
    
It's not clear how many cases the 10-year-old German Shepard helped the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office solve, but Citrullo says he knew Falco needed an owner who better understands his needs.

"We didn't have any issues thinking the dog would be aggressive or anything along those lines," he said, "But again the key is to understand the dog is placed with somebody who understands that behavior."

Just days after Falco was rescued by HES, he was adopted by a professional trainer who has experience with service dogs, and another service dog of her own. We're told Falco is now in good health.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office officially retired and released Falco from active duty into Myrick's care on March 26, spokesperson Matt Lea said in a statement.

No one at the sheriff's office realized Falco wasn't being cared for until Aug. 17, after HES stepped in to help. Authorities said they are grateful Falco is now in a loving home.

"The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is grateful that the Hamilton County Humane Society has found a new owner who will take care of K9 Officer Falco as he enjoys his well-deserved retirement," Lea said.

Stay with Channel 3 for more on this developing story.


PREVIOUS STORY: A Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy is under investigation after department evidence was discovered in his home during an eviction.

Deputy Donnie Myrick was evicted from his Hixson home Wednesday. During the eviction, evidence from cases investigated by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was found in Myrick’s possession. 

According to court documents obtained by Channel 3, the eviction was ordered after Myrick failed to pay his rent. Myrick was verbally told to vacate the property at 7920 North Dent on June 22 after the landlord asked the court for possession of the property, all unpaid rent owed, restitution for damages to the property and attorney fees.

A judge awarded the homeowner $12,110.05 and all costs and taxes. Officers were then sent to the home to execute the eviction on Wednesday.

Neighbors tell Channel 3 Myrick returned to his home to gather some of his belongings, but left the rest on the curb. When Channel 3 visited the property on Thursday our crew found photos of money and drugs, along with envelopes marked “evidence” and a deputy’s uniform out on the curb.

A release issued by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department said:

On Wednesday, September 2, 2015, the HCSO Civil Process Department received a court order for a set-out (eviction) of an employee of the Sheriff’s Office at 7920 North Dent Road.
 
The property of the set out belonged to a member of the HSCO. The owner of the property is also employed by the HCSO.
 
During the set-out, case information and packages, which also included an envelope containing a very small amount of suspect of marijuana, were found and were collected by the HCSO and taken and properly secured in the evidence storage room until further review.  Sheriff Hammond has instructed Internal Affairs to conduct an investigation concerning the property collected.
 
The set-out order has been executed and the property has been remanded back to the custody of the original owner, which as stated above, is an employee of the HCSO.
 
Sheriff Hammond has been briefed on the situation and has asked for a full investigation. No further information will be released by the HCSO until the full IA investigation is complete.
 
The current decision of status of the employee has yet to be determined.
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