1. ITV Report

Petition to keep dog handler with retiring officer gets more than 120,000 signatures

More than 120,000 people have signed a petition to keep a police dog with her handler after he retires later this year.

Sergeant David Evans, from Market Drayton, is due to retire in April after more than thirty years working for the police. The 59-year-old has worked with Ivy, a Malinous-German Shepherd cross, for four years and had hoped to take her with him into retirement.

Credit: Jacob Windsor

However, West Mercia Police confirmed in a statement last week that it was felt to be in the "best interests of the dog and the force" for Ivy to continue working as a police dog.

"Sometimes at the end of the dog's working life we are able to facilitate this but we always have to consider the needs of the dog and the force at the time and to meet our obligation to spend public funds wisely and ensure best value from all our resources.

"Although the dogs live with their handlers and have close relationships with them, they are not family pets. They belong to the force and are highly valued resources.

"PD Ivy is very young and has many years service ahead of her. She will therefore stay with the force and be re-handled with another officer.

– Chief Constable Bangham
Ivy and Dave Credit: PA

Sergeant Evans' family say their local MP Owen Paterson has been contacted by several constituents about Ivy's story and that he has written to the police about their situation.

The family have pledged to keep up their fight for Ivy to stay with Sergeant Evans after he retires.