MARIETTA : A retired Ohio police officer wants to purchase his longtime K-9 partner but the town says hes going to have bid for him.

Recently retired Marietta officer Matt Hickey wants to buy his partner, Ajax. Hes offered to buy the dog for $3,500 Ajaxs estimated value. But the city says Ajax must be sold at auction because hes public property.

A GoFundMe page set up to help buy Ajax has raised more than $24,000 as of Saturday. The page says excess funds will go toward buying protective vests for other K-9 officers.

Hickey told WBNS-TV hes had Ajax for three years and that hes like a family member.

Marietta officials say theyll only allow a police officer, active or retired, or a trainer of police dogs to bid on Ajax.