The K9 who was taken from his family after his handler, Officer Richard Galanti of the SEPTA Transit Police Department, was reassigned, will now be allowed to live with Galanti’s family. According to CBS Philadelphia, though SEPTA was initially adamant that the dog, Abal, would be assigned to a new handler, the decision has since been reversed.
On Friday, SEPTA issued a release about the controversial separation:
When SEPTA Transit Police K9 Abal began training with his new handler, it was noticed that he was having some difficulties physically performing his duties. A subsequent evaluation by doctors at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital revealed that he has a degenerative bulging disc in his back. Abal has been treated by the doctors, and is resting comfortably.
Due to the strenuous nature of the work required of a dual-purpose explosive detection and patrol K9, SEPTA, in consultation with the doctors at Penn, today made the decision to retire Abal from active duty. As a pet, Abal should have a healthy future ahead of him, and SEPTA is grateful for his service over the last five years. Abal will be made available for adoption to the family of his former handler, Ofc. Richard Galanti.
The Galanti family had a tremendous amount of support from the public, who backed their desire to keep Abal in the home where he had lived for five years. A petition asking that the K9 be allowed to remain with his family garnered over 168,000 signatures.