ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Bobby Kling did two tours of duty in the Middle East, was awarded a Purple Heart and spent eight years serving his country. Now, he is battling his former employer to purchase a dog that helps with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kling worked for government contractor Inter-Con Security as an explosive detection K-9 handler before leaving for a new position a few weeks ago. Kling said upon leaving, most officers are given the opportunity to purchase the canine companions they have bonded with while on the job.
Kling's partner Silox, a Belgian Malinois, has lived with him for three-and-a-half years.
"Almost a year ago now, my father passed away in motorcycle accident and Silox was there for that," said Kling. "He's been there for everything."
When Kling asked to purchase Silox, Inter-Con initially refused, according to an email provided to FOX 5. Eventually, the company made Kling an offer, but told Kling he would have to pay more than $10,000 for the 5-year-old dog. Kling feels he is being nickel and dimed and said he can't afford that price.
"I'm not going to be taken advantage of, which is exactly what they are trying to do," said Kling.
Inter-Con told FOX 5 Silox was healthy, but veterinarian records provided by Kling show he has had seizures.
Kling said Silox helps with anxiety that is a result of PTSD. He suffered an injury in Iraq when an improvised explosive device exploded next to his convoy. He also suffers from a traumatic brain injury as a result of the concussion the explosion caused.
In a statement to FOX 5, Inter-Con wrote:
"Inter-Con has provided Mr. Kling the opportunity to purchase Silox at our actual cost, nothing more. Silox is a highly trained, extremely valuable explosive detection dog with many productive years left as an important element of our nation's effort to prevent terrorism against Americans."
The company told FOX 5 its offer for Kling to buy the dog for approximately $10,000 still stands.