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Rex the retired police dog gets offers of sanctuary

Several sanctuaries say they’re willing to take Rex, a retired APD K-9 and military dog who doesn’t qualify to be adopted as a pet. (Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department)

Several sanctuaries say they’re willing to take Rex, a retired APD K-9 and military dog who doesn’t qualify to be adopted as a pet. (Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rex, the recently retired police dog who was present when camper James Boyd was shot in March 2014 during a police standoff, and who previously was a working dog with the military, is being considered for adoption by rescue operations in Montana, Texas and California, Mayor Richard Berry announced Tuesday.

All three facilities are nonprofit, no-kill sanctuaries. Veterans work with the animals to try get them acclimated to civilian family life so they can eventually be adopted; however if that is not possible, the dogs remain in the sanctuaries for the remainder of their lives.

Because of Rex’s training as a military dog, “he’s got some aggressive traits that normal police dogs don’t have, and that’s what’s going to make it (adoption) difficult,” Berry said. Still, the “honorable and respectful” thing to do is to “make sure he’s got a good place to grow old and live out his final years.”

A 9-year-old Malinois, Rex had been with the Albuquerque Police Department since 2013 and was used by the military for a number of years before that.

“So he’s earned this,” Berry said. “He’s a great dog and is an all-business-all-the-time kind of a dog, so we’re looking to get him into a place that understands his temperament and personality and the things he’s been through in his career.”

Rex has been held at the city’s Animal Welfare Department since Friday, when his APD handler, Scott Weimerskirch retired. According to APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza, Weimerskirch had the option of keeping Rex with him, but because he has a young child at home “it’s not the right environment” in which to house this particular dog.

APD Chief Gorden Eden will interview representatives of the different rescue facilities to determine which is the best fit for Rex. The process may take several weeks, Berry said.

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