Happy Ending: LMPD officer expands family after arrest

Officer Emerich knew the puppy he found shivering under a car seat deserved a better life. And he wanted to help her. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Officer Emerich knew the puppy he found shivering under a car seat deserved a better life. And he wanted to help her. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The puppy is named after Emerich's grandmother, who was very special to him. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The puppy is named after Emerich's grandmother, who was very special to him. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For little Australian Shepherd Audrey, it was "gotcha" day.

In full LMPD uniform, officer Jeffrey Emerich signed several documents at Louisville Metro Animal Services. Once finished with the documents, he received Audrey carefully from a handler, and tucked her close, making a nook with his elbow so she could rest her chin.

"[Audrey] was my grandma's name and she's very special to me so hopefully she'll be just as special," Emerich explained.

From the looks of it, the two have high expectations for each other. Thursday afternoon was when they decided to ditch the "stranger" title with each other. However, Thursday's greeting wasn't the first.

"My buddy did a traffic stop at the corner of Clay and Jacob," Emerich recalled of his day on March 7. Emerich explained another officer pulled 24-year-old Dezmond Jones over for a traffic violation.

Once a conversation got going with Jones, it was clear there was a warrant out for his arrest on domestic-violence related burglary and harassment charges. Jones quickly surrendered himself to the officers and casually mentioned there was a dog in the car.

Initially Emerich said he didn't believe Jones. He looked inside the car and heard and saw nothing. Then he saw a small leg sticking out.

"Underneath the seat in the passenger side, and it was such a small space I couldn't even believe the dog was under there," Emerich explained. He said he tried to gently pull her out by the leg but she refused. The dog was in rough shape.

The arresting documents for Jones explain the dog was found shivering, covered in urine and way too young to have been separated from her litter.

Emerich said after some convincing and nudging, he was able to retrieve the dog. He also cited Jones on animal cruelty charges.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell explained the two types of charges Jones faces are not surprising.

"There are studies that seem to show a correlation between those who abuse victims in domestic situations have the propensity to abuse animals and vice versa," O'Connell said.

LMAS director Ozzy Gibson said he is extremely glad to see a good outcome out of a sad situation.

"Prosecution in court, Jefferson County attorney's office doing what they're supposed to do -- being able to get that pet back to [Emerich] -- unbelievable," Gibson said.

Maybe it was the tenacity officer Emerich showed, or maybe it was the warmth he provided, but Audrey greeted her new family in the warmest way she knows how.

"I immediately tried finding a blanket for the dog, we wrapped it up and turned the heat up," Emerich said.

Emerich added he knew the moment he was able to take a good look at her.

"Definitely when I pulled her out of the car, I knew she deserved a good home and deserved better than what she had," Emerich said. "I could provide that for her."

O'Connell said Jones has been convicted on several charges and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with probation after the first 90.

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