‘It’s about doing the right thing’ – Family fights for return of bomb-sniffing dog

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OLD BRIDGE -

An Old Bridge family feels that they have been lied to after a dog that has lived with them for years was taken away.

The Fennessy family has taken care of 6-year-old lab Mattie for the past five years. Mattie is a bomb-detecting dog, and Seamus Fennessy is her handler. They work for MSA Security in New York.

"She has never had another handler. Seamus has never had another dog,” says wife Deidre Fennessy.

Seamus is a veteran and a member of the Army National Guard. He was recently called for long-term active duty. Deidre Fennessy says that MSA told the family that Mattie must be returned.

“[Seamus] has been sent to training that lasted a few months – like in the summer, things of that nature. Nothing longer than a few months and Mattie was here with me,” Deidre says.

But Deidre says, “There was always something that could be worked out. It was always presented that way - Not that we're ripping your dog away."

The family was forced to give Mattie back to MSA Wednesday after the family says law enforcement got involved.

"It was just so hard this morning when they were leaving, just not knowing when or if I’ll ever see Mattie again. If any of us will ever see her again,” says Deidre.

Mattie will go back to work and should be eligible for retirement in a year. But the Fennessys want to know why Mattie cannot retire right now.

"On paper, MSA owns Mattie,” says Deidre. “But this isn't about ownership. This is about doing the right thing and matters of the heart."

MSA says in a statement, "MSA Security's explosive detection canine services are a matter of public and private safety. Our policies and procedures regarding our canines and handlers are subject to confidentiality and may not be discussed by MSA."

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