LOOK: This Police K9 Tracked Down a Suspect in a Garbage Can

Hundreds Attend Memorial Service for K9 Killed in the Line of Duty

Thousands of people have rallied around an Ohio police officer who is hoping to keep his former K9 partner, Ajax, as city officials prepare to auction him off.

Officer Matthew Hickey recently retired from the Marietta Police Department after 30 years of service, Fox and Friends reported this morning.

Hickey had worked with Ajax for four great years.

When he retired, the city offered him the chance to “purchase” the dog for $3,500, according to a GoFundMe campaign started this past weekend.

Later, however, the city “rescinded the offer,” the website states.

Officials apparently decided that Ajax was a valuable piece of city “property,” and put him up for auction to the highest bidder.

“It’s hard to put in words,” said Hickey. “He’s a family member.”

The date of the auction, which will be open to other police officers and K9 trainers, has not yet been set.

But as of Monday morning, nearly $60,000 in donations had been raised, far exceeding Officer Hickey’s original goal of $3,500.

Some gave $5, others $500.

Hickey has said the rest of the money raised will go toward buying bulletproof vests for K9 units, “since there has been a spike in K9 officers being killed in the line of duty.”

Watch more, above.

PHOTOS: Meet This North Carolina County's Cutest New Investigators

Dramatic Video Shows Mother Dog Saving Trapped Puppies

WATCH: Conan O'Brien Gets Taken Down by a Military Dog