Fighting for Fano

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COLUMBIA - After three hours of listening to the Columbia City Council discuss items on the docket Monday night, Amy Sanders finally got her chance to talk about why her husband should be allowed to keep his dog.

She began by stating her name, and explaining to the council that she was the wife of Rob Sanders, who was recently fired from the Columbia Police Department. She then told the council why she felt Rob should be able to keep his four-legged canine partner, Fano.

Amy Sanders said the relationship between her husband and Fano had grown throughout their time at the station together.

"[Rob Sanders] got off at 3 a.m. and there were several times where I would wake up and he wasn't home yet, and I would go out and flip on the lights and he would be sitting in his kennel with the dog, just sitting there - playing with him and that was the time, Rob would always tell me, that was his bonding time.  That's when he just let the dog be a dog, and he got to be with him," she said.

This weekend, Fano was taken from the Sanders' home by the Columbia Police Department.  Rob Sanders had asked to keep Fano, but was ultimately not allowed.  When asked why Sanders could not keep the dog, Police Chief Ken Burton said it was a liability issue.  He further explained by saying that having a dog trained to protect and use force is a liability even when that dog is working for the department.  

"Having [the trained dog] in the hands of a private citizen would make that liability even higher," Burton said.  

Without another officer able to partner with Fano currently, the dog has been boarded in Cape Girardeau for $15 a day. 

"It's not that we are worried he isn't being well fed, or taken care of, but more so that he's not being loved like he would be if he were with us," said Amy Sanders.

After hearing from Amy Sanders and other people in the community, the council decided it would discuss the matter in more detail at a later date.  The council told the audience they would simply need more time to contemplate what would be best for all of the parties involved: including Fano.