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To: Governor Joe Lombardo
Nevada State Trooper's Dog Taken Away
Nevada State Police Trooper Christopher Garcia had his partner Nala taken from him on the job and he wants to adopt her. He was says betrayed by his department after his K9 partner was taken away without the option to adopt her.
Just weeks ago, Nevada State Police Trooper Christopher Garcia celebrated his K9 partner’s 4th birthday. K9 Nala is a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois narcotics detection canine that has been Garcia’s partner for the last two years. Garcia is her first handler.
“She’s a huge daddy’s girl. I just love her,” begins Garcia.
But his “partner” was more than just a dog he was on duty with. Nala was like a child. “She’s part of the family. Obviously, that happens when we go to work day in and day out together. Off duty she’s with me, she’s just a big love,” said Garcia.
Last week Trooper Garcia’s life came crashing down when Nala was abruptly taken out of service by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a non-aggressive nipping incident. Out of an abundance of caution, Garcia promptly reported it. Originally, Garcia was told Nala would not be taken away from him.
“With the lack of severity of this, I never thought it was going to happen. But it was good to hear,” recalls Garcia.
Two weeks later the tone changed, and Garcia was informed that not only would Nala be taken out of service, but Nevada Highway Patrol would be placing her out for adoption. Garcia made countless pleas to adopt her but was denied. He was told that it was determined that the state felt there was a liability if they allowed Garcia to adopt her while he was still employed by the department.
He was shocked because, as he says, many previous handlers in his department have been able to adopt their canines at the end of their time of service. He even said the only other known instance similar to his own was a different NHP canine who was taken out of service after its fourth unintended bite/nipping incident. Garcia went so far as to write an email and sent it up the chain of command from his Sergeant all the way to the Department of Public Safety Directors. He told that it was “a well written email, but the decision is final.” On January 17th Garcia was ordered to meet halfway between Ely, and Las Vegas to surrender Nala, leaving him distraught and confused.
“She dedicated two years of her life working for the state and I felt like she was being shuffled out the back door,” said Garcia.
But Garcia wouldn’t go down without a fight and searched for ways to get Nala back. He had heard she would be sent to Slade Weber, the owner of Desired K9 Training.
“We spoke on the phone for about 18 minutes, and I relayed my desire to adopt Nala, to bring Nala home. To my relief he fully agreed. I thanked him continuously and at one point I confirmed we are 100% good to go, and he said, ‘she’s your dog’,” Garcia said.
This would not be Garcia’s happy ending. Just hours before the pick-up he said Weber called and said he couldn’t go through with his promise.
“I’m going to have to rip this band aid off a second time, I’ve already told my family she’s coming home. His response was ‘rip the band aid off the answer is no’,” said Garcia.
To make matters worse, Garcia has been reduced to a desk job after 7 years on the force. He says he can’t help but feel betrayed.
“When I took this position, I did so with the intent to work her entire working life together and have her retire at home with me. She is very well taken care of and will continue to be. She did not deserve to have her world turned upside down and put in the care of someone she has never met before. If the department had no issue adopting her out or placing her somewhere, there was no better place for her to be than in her home with me,” Garcia said.
NHP and they issued a statement that said:
“The Nevada Department of Public Safety is aware of significant public interest in Nala, one of the department’s working canines. As with all department canines, Nala is a state funded and highly trained member of our law enforcement family. To improve performance and assure renewed certification, the department determined canine Nala needed remedial training and other support, including an up-to-date veterinary examination. These steps will help to ensure a long and healthy law enforcement career serving the citizens of Nevada. Canine Nala’s welfare is a priority for the department, and she remains in good health and good hands. This matter is the subject of an internal administrative review, and the Department is unable to provide any further comment or details at this time.”
Slade Weber also commented and said “K9 Nala is with NHP. I only want to honor K9 Nala.”
Why is this important?
We have to help Nevada State Police Trooper Christopher Garcia had his partner Nala!
Nala was abruptly taken from him by the Nevada State Police without the option to adopt her.
Please help us bring Nala home!!