BENSON, N.C. — A dog at the center of a North Carolina Highway Patrol animal abuse case will stay with the handler entrusted to care it.
The Highway Patrol said Friday it does not have the legal standing to get the dog back.
Ricoh, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois on the state agency's K-9 unit, went into early retirement last year after his former handler, Charles Jones, was captured on video suspending him from a railing and kicking him to make him release a training toy.
Jones, who was dismissed from his job following the incident, testified he was following the Highway Patrol's training techniques and was doing only what was necessary to train Ricoh.
In September, Trooper Robert Reaves, who now has legal ownership of Ricoh, placed him in Jones' care while he went on vacation.
The Highway Patrol believes Reaves violated a tenet of a contract that he would never expose the animal to neglect or mistreatment.