SAN FRANCISCO – A handler and his partner, K9 Baro, have been separated at retirement, which is in conflict with prior plans to venture into the sunset together.
What should have been a routine procedure has led to the separation of partners. San Francisco Police Officer Val Kirwan retired on Friday. His K9 partner of two years, Baro, was supposed to retire and return home with him.
Instead, Baro is alone in a cage in a San Bruno facility, reported ABC7News.
“He’s been part of my life 24/7. I go to work with him every day. When we’re not at work he’s around the house. Wherever I go he’s with me,” said Kirwan.
Baro and Val Kirwan both retired from San Francisco’s International Airport K9 unit on Friday. As a result, they should have gone home together.
Instead, Kirwan was ordered to deliver Baro to the San Bruno Pet Hospital for boarding.
Consequently, Kirwan has been on the phone non-stop trying to cut through the red tape. Reportedly, the layer of bureaucracy didn’t exist two years ago when his then K9 partner Gilbey retired. Hence, Gilbey continued living with Kirwan.
Now Kirwan can’t even get into the hospital to visit Baro, who suffers from separation anxiety. The reason for this went unexplained.
“It’s not anything I would wish on any dog. It sounds terrible,” said Beth Koenig, a K9 trainer who’s considered an expert in the field.
She worries about Baro’s physical and mental health.
“He could absolutely pass away with just super stress, depression, not eating, it could be a huge deal absolutely,” Koenig said.
#Baro @SFPD K9 was supposed to retire with his handler yesterday. His handler/Ofc. Retired. But now #Baro is in a cage @ San Bruno Hospital. Ofc blames backed up paperwork for their unnecessary separation pic.twitter.com/Cr5ejzMwmo
— Lisa Amin Gulezian (@LisaAminABC7) July 1, 2018
Even the Officers’ Union is scratching its head over this. Kirwan said this is a standard process, and that the paperwork to retire together was completed weeks ago. Moreover, the verbal “OK’s” were given.
This is outrageous. Promising the K9 handler that Baro would retire with him and then separating them on the K9 handlers last day on the job? Who gets hurt with this ridiculous decision? Baro and the K9 handler. https://t.co/hrEMaSHBOs
— San Francisco POA (@SanFranciscoPOA) July 1, 2018
Kirwan fears Baro could be sent back to the Texas Air Force base where he was born and be re-assigned, despite a veterinarian recommending Baro retire.
Kirwan worries the two will never see each other again. In the meantime, San Francisco police haven’t commented.
Baro’s age was not provided in the report.