Tug-of-war over who owns this local police K-9 could end up in court

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RAYMORE, Mo. -- It's a K-9 conundrum. Who owns a police dog named Moose?

The handler who brought him from the Archie, Missouri, Police Department to the Raymore Police Department says he does, but Raymore PD says the dog belongs to them.

As an employee of the Archie Police Department, Kenny Massa raised the money to buy a trained police K-9 by selling t-shirts and other fundraising efforts. In November 2017, Moose arrived from Germany.

"The previous owner had signed off and the ownership certification of ownership is to me solely," Kenny Massa said of paperwork he believes proves that he owns Moose.

A month later, Massa got an opportunity to make more money at the Raymore Police Department and got permission from Archie Mayor Les Whiteside to go and take Moose with him.

Whiteside even wrote a letter to Raymore police, urging them to keep the duo together.

"I made sure the dog could go with him to his new assignment," Whiteside said. "We thought the dog was worth something, but then they kind of balked because they didn't wanna pay Archie for it. But in my mind, keeping the team together trumped everything, so I said I want the dog to go with Ken."

But when Massa recently resigned from Raymore PD, he said he was forced to leave Moose behind.

"When I turned in my notice to resign, I was under the impression that I was going to get to keep him from that conversation," Massa said.

But an officer from Raymore PD showed up at Massa's house and took Moose.

"We truly believe that this dog can provide a valuable service and does provide a valuable service to our residence and as part of that we want to ensure that we can continue that," Raymore Assistant City Manager Mike Ekey said.

He estimates the Raymore Police Department has spent approximately $15,000 in maintenance for Moose since he and Massa began working there. Ekey also said Massa was aware of a K-9 policy stating the dog was now owned and controlled by RPD.

Massa said he knew nothing about that or he would never have worked there.

"Every employee especially the police department are given a copy of the policies and asked that they understand before they start day one," Ekey told FOX4's Shannon O'Brien.

When O'Brien asked to see the signed policy that Massa understood that, Ekey replied, " I really wish I could help you."

In fact, Ekey admits the police service dog policy was written after Massa's start date on December 26, 2018, and was put unto effect after April 30 of the following year.

Moose is now with the Kansas City, Missouri, canine division trying to figure out if he can be retrained to work with the new handler. Who owns Moose could very well be decided by a judge.

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