Fano, a police dog trained by ex-Columbia Police Department officer Rob Sanders, was sold for $1 to Chief Raymond Barton of the Clarence Police Department. Sanders, Fano's handler, was fired after an excessive force incident last August.
Fano was not sold to Sanders due to liability concerns. CPD decided to transfer Fano to another police department due to boarding costs.
The Columbia Police Officers’ Association posted a response to the sale of Fano on its Facebook page. According to the post, the association believes the city of Columbia should have accepted an offer of $10,000 and a full liability release a year and a half ago. The association argues that the money could have been used to purchase a new police dog.
Originally, CPD planned to train another officer to work with Fano but decided against it due to staffing shortages, according to the news release.
"The taxpayers of Columbia bore a financial burden with the purchase, training, maintenance, and subsequent kenneling and non-use of a valuable public safety resource, a burden for which no benefit has been seen." CPOA's Facebook post said. "The city of Columbia was presented with documentation and evidence of the unlikelihood of the ability of Fano to be re-trained and paired with a new handler."
The CPOA feels the sale reflects the misinformed decision-making surrounding Fano, according to their Facebook post. The CPOA argued that Fano was a financial burden to taxpayers. The training and kenneling costs of Fano did not lead to a visible benefit, according to the post.