Word's come from the U.S. military: Bloomfield Police Lt. Harvey Holt's former K-9 Jjackson won't be put down.
However, he also won't be up for adoption soon.
Collen McGee, chief of public affairs for the 37th Training Wing of the U.S. Air Force, said Jjackson will be kept in service for the foreseeable future.
"I just talked to the folks in charge of him, and he's doing well and still out there saving lives," she explained. "That's where these dogs are happiest."
Indeed, Holt's always said so long as Jjackson can be kept active in a military support role, he believes that's the best thing for the dog.
McGee said protocols and procedures exist to adopt the service animals. First, placement's sought for the dogs, whether as training animals or to breed future generations. Should that fail, the dog could be adopted by its current handler. Next in line are other handlers, such as Holt, who would receive preference.
Should none emerge, other military agencies and law enforcement agencies could seek to use the canine.
Should Jjackson be retired, Holt -- as well as the Bloomfield Police Department -- could vie to adopt him.
"We've already applied," Holt said.
That application, McGee said, means the lawman and veteran "is on the list. He's definitely on the list, and he will be long before the general public."
If that's the case, Holt considers his mission accomplished -- for now.
"That's great," Holt said when informed of the military's decision. "Mainly, what the cause is for was to show he had a house to go to if the time came. Greene County and me are ready to offer this dog a home. That was our main concern -- that if it came to the time, euthanasia didn't have to occur."
Rumors Jjackson was slated to be put down reached Holt, who also heard the dog had nipped at a new handler. However, McGee said that's simply untrue.
"He is not scheduled to be put down," she said.
"Nor is it our policy to put a dog down if they nip at a handler. That kind of thing happens all the time. The dogs are trained, but they have their own brain, and they've been known to nip sometimes. That's not a precursor to retirement or being put down."
Those rumors also reached Holt, who found widespread support for his efforts to adopt the dog he once commanded in the military.
Criticism of the U.S. Armed Forces by some animal activists has him concerned.
Petitions to reunite the dog with his former handler garnered 2,500 more signatures in a day, bringing the tally to near 10,000 on Tuesday.
The possibility Jjackson might be put down was raised earlier in the month due to rumors the Belgian Malinois may have nipped another trainer.
"It is not the policy of the Department of Defense to just put these dogs down at the end of their service," Holt said. "I understand if Jjackson has changed and become a danger to someone."
McGee said the rumors regarding Jjackson's imminent demise were unfounded, but ran so far afield some suggested the double J in his name indicated he was slated for termination. That's not true: The double J in his name is a quirk of military designations for litters.
"He was born here at Lackland Air Force Base," she said. "And he's proved to be very good at his job."
The tactics some animal activists employed to encourage the U.S. Air Force to let Jjackson be adopted concern Holt.
Even before the news was announced, Holt was concerned angry confrontation with the military might scuttle any effort to adopt the dog, whom Holt served with from 2003 to 2007.
"The cause is to let the military know that a home is available when the time comes to make a decision," Holt emphasized. "This cannot be a smear campaign against the Department of Defense because they are trying their best."
Some supporters, he explained, are contacting the kennels at Andrews Air Force Base directly, criticizing the military over the possibility Jjackson might be put to sleep, rather than adopted out to Holt.
McGee said the military maintains a large adoption program, finding foster and permanent homes for puppies as well as service dogs.
There's a waiting list of around 400 people.