Soldier, sheriff's deputy fight over custody of Army dog
Posted October 15, 2015 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2015 6:17 p.m. EDT
Fayetteville, N.C. — 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.