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Soldier, sheriff's deputy fight over custody of Army dog

Posted October 15, 2015

— A fight is brewing between a former soldier and a sheriff’s deputy over a bomb sniffing dog.

Former soldier Alex Reimer says that he was the original of Howard, a pit bull who was trained to sniff out explosives and saved lives in Afghanistan. But sheriff’s deputy Deon Fuller says that the dog is no longer a part of the Army and is now a big part of his family.

Reimer, who lives in Colorado, said he remembers Howard saving lives when the dog alerted him to a van with weapons and explosives inside.

“He saved not only my life, but there were weapons in that van that night that could have been turned on us and there could have been an IED in there,” Reimer said. “There was an IED in that same van two days later, which saved some other people’s lives.”

Reimer hasn’t seen Howard since 2013. He recently located the dog in Fayetteville and had a friend check on him. Reimer claims that the dog was found tethered to a tree in the back yard.

Reimer said that being tethered outside is not the way a dog that has saved American lives should be treated. The former soldier said that he suffers from PTSD and feels that having Howard back would help him heal.

“I dream about the times that me and Howard had together. The rough times and the good times,” said Reimer. “It’s just tough knowing your best friend is out there tied to a tree and not being taken care of to the best of their ability.”

Fuller, a Hoke County sheriff’s deputy, worked for the Taylortown Police Department in Moore County when he acquired Howard.

“As of right now, I’m saying Howard is my dog and he is home with myself and my family,” said Fuller.

Fuller says that claims that Howard is being mistreated are unfounded and animal control officers agreed. They investigated the allegations and said that Howard is living in a loving home and is being well cared for.

Fuller said that a Facebook page called “Bring Howard Home” has been set up and is filled with threatening messages aimed at him and his family.

“There’s so much going on [on the site], I think a lot of damage has been done,” Fuller said.

The Facebook page has more than 17,000 likes and a flood of comments suggesting that Fuller give the dog back to it's former handler.

Fuller said that he's not totally against giving the dog back, but right now Howard is staying with him.


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  • Linda Palma Oct 17, 2015
    user avatar

    This is by far of the most disgusting things I have ever seen!! Fuller does not have the right to call himself an American!! To be doing this to TWO heroes is monstrous and Howard and Alexander deserve 100 times better!! MR. FULLER YOU ARE A MONSTER!!!
    Just remember what goes around comes around and Mr Fuller it will come around to you BIG TIME!!!

  • Laura Baxter Oct 16, 2015
    user avatar

    Fuller needs to do the right thing by Howard and Reimer. Both of them should be treated like hero's! Come on Fuller, you know in your hearts of heart what is right.

  • Hamilton Bean Oct 16, 2015
    user avatar

    Not a "winnable" situation to be sure. But, make the decision based on need---if, as Reimer claims, he has PTSD, given the success other troops have had in fighting the disease with their former war dogs,, then it seems to me that he soldiers need outweighs the desire of the law enforcement officer.

  • Nicolle Leney Oct 16, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I thought this was supposed to be the case too (that the handlers have the first option of adopting a retired military dog).

    First of all, for people on the sites who threaten a family in a situation like this, that is not okay. It only makes things worse, and they are actually hurting Reimer's chances of getting his dog back.

    Maybe some of the K-9 officers who work with Deputy Fuller can explain the intense bond handlers have working with these animals daily. There's a special bond that none of us can understand.

    I hope Deputy Fuller will do the right thing and allow the dog to be reunited with Reimer.

  • betsymillsaps Oct 16, 2015

    Deputy Fuller should give Howard to his handler, they have a strong history together. Dogs are not lawn ornimates and are pack animals. They should be with their pack and Deputy Fuller is NOT A PACK MEMBER. He should be ashamed of his actions. Animal control will only check for two things when they go to do an animal check . Can it get to water and is there any evidence that food has been near it at sometime. Deputy Fuller makes me ashamed to be a member of the Sheriff's Association. He appears to be a money hungry, attention craving individual. He has been offer $5000 and is loving having a camera in his face. NOT TRUE DEPUTY OR LAW ENFORCEMENT MATERIAL.

  • Cille Shaner Oct 15, 2015
    user avatar

    This is not the first time that a MWD RET has been treated this way in Fayetteville. In my opinion, Fuller is looking for more money. I have seen photos of Howard chained outside and in a kennel with a muzzle on. This is not the way a RET Soldier should be treated. Do the right thing Dep Fuller and let Alex have his partner back.

  • jojoartart Oct 15, 2015

    If that dog is being left outside tied to anything then he should be given to someone who will love him and let him be an inside dog. I fail to see why someone would have a dog and leave it outside by itself all the time. Deputy Fuller should give this baby to his original owner.

  • jojoartart Oct 15, 2015

    If that dog is being left outside tied to anything then he should be given to someone who will love him and let him be an inside dog. I fail to see why someone would have a dog and leave it outside by itself all the time. Deputy Fuller should give this baby to his original owner.

  • Vikki Scharnhorst Oct 15, 2015
    user avatar

    Is Deputy Fuller waiting for a larger money offer? I understand he has turned down $5000. I am shocked that an officer would not be willing to do what is clearly the right action. He could turn this into a positive experience for his family and community by supporting what this man and his dog have sacrificed for his country. What a shame.

  • Danielle Cockrum Oct 15, 2015
    user avatar

    Okay, if you're not "totally against" giving the dog back... then what's your problem? Haven't our soldiers given up enough that now you've taken his dog too?!?! Good grief!