FOREST PARK, Ga. - K-9 Yuri is returning to the place he's called home the past 6 years, to his former partner who fought to retire the dog and adopt him.
Nathan Gray, a former Forest Park Police Officer who worked with Yoeri before leaving the force earlier this month, told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes, "Very excited, very relieved. I'm glad it happened sooner than later. We're just happy to have him home.
Given Yoeri's age and medical issues, Gray was blindsided when the department denied his request to retire the 11-year-old dog.
Former Forest Park Police Officer Nathan Gray and his K-9 partner Yoeri (Forest Park Police Department)
The department had animal control remove Yoeri from his residence a few weeks ago. "I don't know what their thought process was through this entire thing," said Gray. "I'm just glad they made the decision to retire him."
Forest Park City Manager Dr. Marc-Antonie Cooper told FOX 5 that the city took possession of the dog after the police department initially couldn't produce Yoeri's medical records, then presented conflicting documents.
"I'm not trying to keep this dog away, I'm not trying to lock this dog away," said Cooper. "I'm trying to do what's best for the dog."
Forest Park police (FOX 5)
Gray's supporters took to social media, urging the department to give him the dog. This week, he learned he would be reunited with his former partner after an independent veterinarian recommended the dog be retired, clearing the way for city officials to return Yoeri to his handler.
"I would like to thank everybody that supported us through this entire thing. Especially my friends and family being so supportive," Gray said.
The city council will vote to formally retire Yoeri on November 1.