Officer who claimed to save dog fired from job - KMOV.com

Officer who claimed to save dog fired from job

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Joel Fields. Credit: KMOV Joel Fields. Credit: KMOV
BEL-RIDGE, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A local police officer who made national headlines for rescuing a shelter dog has now been fired from his job.

Joel Fields worked for the Bel-Ridge Police Department. Now the city says he won't give them back the dog. 

News 4 has also learned from sources an investigation into the officer's actions regarding the dog and other items even involves the federal government. 

Fields is no stranger to accolades. An article just posted earlier this month on People Magazine's website says Fields rescued a yellow lab puppy named Luke from death's door at a shelter.

Now, the group that trained the dog says that was all a lie made up by Fields.

"I was a little upset, because Joel was told from the day I handed him the leash of the dog that this was not a shelter dog," said Brad Croft. 

Croft is the owner of Universal K9, the company that trained Luke.

Taxpayers paid thousands for the pup's training and the two started working cases together as a K9 unit in Bel-Ridge until Fields was fired last Thursday.

“First, he did not show up for work, so he was terminated as a result,” said Sam Alton, city prosecutor for Bel-Ridge. 

Alton says Fields is now refusing to give up the dog.

“Everything legally from our point of view shows that the dog belongs to the city of Bel-Ridge,” said Alton. "It's unfortunate for the city, it's unfortunate for the residents, it's unfortunate for the dog and it's unfortunate for him (Fields)."

Alton says Fields initially told them the dog was certified as a K9, but he says they have now learned that is not true. That fact could cast shadows now on the cases the dog has worked.

“Those are currently under investigation so I can't tell you but they are under review and we are taking a close look at all of them,” Alton said.

Alton said they've also discovered other problems.

“We have, in the course of the case, discovered some irregularities with respect to documents and signatures,” he said.

He told News 4 those irregularities have been turned over to the proper authorities and they are waiting to hear back from them.

Alton says they only want what's best for everyone.

“We would like to see the taxpayers not lose money, we would like the dog to live a happy and productive life and we would like to see the dog in service as it was meant to be,” Alton said.

Alton says the dog won't be euthanized.

But when News 4 spoke with Fields over the phone Tuesday, that's what he says he was worried about.

He also says he quit and wasn't fired. He declined to speak on camera until he could consult his attorney.

"It's upsetting to me, but I'm going to let Bel-Ridge Police Department do what they've got to do," said Croft. "Hopefully, he'll (Fields) get smart and turn the dog back in because that's what he should do."

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