News 12 New Jersey reports that Seamus Fennessy and his wife Deirdre received their dog Mattie from MSA Security, the couple's employer, five years ago and that Seamus has been the bomb-sniffing dog's handler and trainer ever since.
Seamus, who has served in Afghanistan and is now a member of the Army National Guard, has recently been summoned for long-term active duty.
Online, Seamus’s wife Deirdre wrote: “Last month my husband informed MSA that he was going to serve his country on active military duty but would be local and still able to keep up with Mattie’s training.”
“Since MSA has previously allowed handlers to keep their dogs in similar circumstances we had no reason to believe this would be different.”
“Except it was. At the 11th hour only 2 days before my husband went on orders we were abruptly informed that Mattie would need to be returned and someone 'would pick her up in the morning.'”
Deirdre told News 12 New Jersey, “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 handed Mattie back to MSA Security on Wednesday after law enforcement had to get involved.
"On paper, MSA owns Mattie,” says Deirdre. “But this isn't about ownership. This is about doing the right thing and matters of the heart."
In a statement, MSA said: "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.”
In 2016, Seamus received attention when a video of him singing an Irish rebel tune was posted online.
Seamus, whose father is Irish and mother is Korean, speaks Irish fluently and has even spent time at a Donegal Gaeltacht.
The video of Fennessy singing the song ‘Go On Home British Soldiers’ was posted on an unofficial Facebook page for members of the US military.
The Facebook page the video was shared on removed the video very shortly after posting it and said: “It was brought to our attention that this song was actually… in support of Irish rebel forces from the 1960s, specifically the Irish Republican Army. Our page refrains from political matters so we decided it was in the best interest of our Facebook community to remove the video."