ESSEX, COUNTY, NJ — Five furry Essex County officers will find themselves without a job in the new year, according to the Essex County Sheriff’s Department.

Due to budget demands, Essex County will disband its K-9 unit and will enter into a new shared services agreement with other law enforcement agencies starting in January 2020. The supporting agencies will provide the same level of service and response to the county. 

"Throughout its tenure, our K-9 Unit has been a vital part of our law enforcement initiatives, assisting our narcotics and bomb units as well as our local, state and federal law enforcement partners," said Sheriff Armando Fontoura said. "While it is unfortunate that the K-9 unit will no longer be part of our department, the officers who have trained and worked with their dogs will have an opportunity to adopt them."

According to Fontoura, the county will make arrangements for all canines who are not adopted by their handlers to be "well cared for."