- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 4, 2018

WENONAH, N.J. (AP) - Members of a Pennsylvania transit officer’s family said they are not ready to say goodbye to their K-9 and beloved pet that helped them heal from the loss of a son.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority K-9 Abal lived with Officer Richard Galanti and his family in Wenonah, New Jersey, for the past five years.

The German Shepherd-Akita mix was there in 2014 when the family’s 14-year-old son, Ben, was hit and killed by a car while riding his bike.

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SEPTA announced last week Abal would be placed in a kennel and reassigned to another officer. Galanti is being transferred out of the K-9 division, according to his wife, Nicole.

Nicole Galanti offered to buy the department a new dog. She also started an online petition to keep the dog, which gathered more than 8,000 signatures.

The department refused, and Officer Galanti surrendered Abal on Tuesday morning.

Nicole Galanti said their 10-year-old son shed tears over the loss, and their 20-year-old daughter is devastated.

“I don’t understand it at all,” she told NJ.com Tuesday.

SEPTA Chief Tom Nestel said while the decision was difficult, moving Abal would allow him to serve for longer. Dogs placed with SEPTA officers are not guaranteed for life, according to Nestel.

SEPTA declined to say why Galanti was transferred.

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