A police officer in Mississippi has reportedly been demoted after he took a retired police dog to an animal shelter.

The New York Times reported on Monday that the Jackson Police Department recently demoted Officer Carl Ellis after Chief James E. Davis discovered the officer took Ringo, a Labrador retriever who retired from the department in October, to an animal shelter.


The department said in a previous announcement that Ringo was going home with Ellis, his partner, after serving nine years with the department’s narcotics unit.

But Randy Hare, a dog trainer who worked with Ringo years ago, told the Times that he discovered the animal had been placed in a shelter after receiving a photo from another police officer. 

Hare, who recognized Ringo from the photo, said he notified the department’s chief shortly after and confronted him.

“Why would he turn his back on the dog and surrender his dog like that?” Hare asked in the Times interview, referring to Ellis. “I never dreamed in a thousand years that he would pull this. I thought he would at least call me first and let me help him.”

Sgt. Roderick Holmes, a spokesman for the police department,  told the newspaper that Davis demoted Ellis shortly after he discovered Ringo’s situation.

“He wasn’t pleased,” Holmes told the newspaper. “We treat our canines like we do any other officer with our department.”

Ellis has since been reassigned to patrol duty, Holmes told the Times.

Meanwhile, Hare said he is looking after Ringo, adding that he has already started joining him helping train other police dogs.

“His sense of smell is not quite what it was before and he is not as nimble,” Hare said. “But he still enjoys doing it.”