COLUMBIA- The Columbia City Council adopted the recommendation of city manager Mike Matthes to not allow the sale of police dog Fano, though council members left open the possibility for revisiting the issue.
The Columbia City Council heard testimony Monday night regarding Fano, the police dog formerly trained by fired police officer Rob Sanders. Fano is currently in boarding after his handler was fired September 21, when the department found Sanders used excessive force against a jailed suspect, Kenneth Baker.
An official memo from city manager Mike Matthes states he recommends the council does not sell the dog to Sanders, because the dog is aggressive and has already bitten an officer.
The council took the Matthes memo under advisement, and then heard from Amy Sanders, wife of fired police officers Rob Sanders. She disputes the claim by Matthes that Fano ever bit a police officer.
Sanders said she contacted several dog trainers and none of them indicated agressiveness as being a key factor in selection of a canidate dog. Sanders said, " I would ask [Mr. Matthes] where he gets this information and on whose expertise this opinion is based. First of all, I know for a fact he has never met Fano, neither has the Chief [Burton]."
Greg White, the president of the Missouri Police Canine Association, said in a written statement, "I understand that the city has been offered $10,800.00 for Fano I think that the city would be better served and money ahead to take this offer and purchase a new canine that could be matched to a new handler."
The Fano issue may be revisited at a November council meeting.