A 1-year-old German shepherd mix named Brooklyn, abandoned by his owners in Roosevelt, is moving in with a new family upstate -- thanks to a Nassau County police officer.
Third Precinct officer John Saleh was called to the apartment last Saturday by a landlord reporting her upstairs tenants had abandoned Brooklyn. They abruptly vacated the apartment due to a family emergency, police said.
Saleh considered adopting Brooklyn but turned to his brother-in-law -- Brian Upton, 37, of upstate Clifton Park near Albany -- who was looking to add a dog to his clan, which includes his wife and four children.
Brooklyn's adoption was finalized Monday at the Town of Hempstead's Animal Shelter in Wantagh with much fanfare. Television cameras followed Brooklyn's every move as he licked Saleh's face and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's hand.
"I was thinking of adopting him myself but I have a newborn at home and I have a 2-year-old and I don't think that's fair to my wife," Saleh said in an interview, after receiving a framed county citation from Mangano. "I knew my brother-in-law was looking for a dog. It took little convincing after they saw the pictures. They met him and fell in love, too."
Mangano, who presented Brooklyn's new family with a 60-ounce box of Milk Bone dog biscuits, called Saleh's efforts "really heartwarming and a great representation of our officers."
Mangano, though, made a pitch for the pup to be renamed. "We should name him Nassau," Mangano joked, eliciting laughter from the dog's new family.
Brooklyn, black with some light brown fur around his face, was skittish when he first encountered Saleh, but didn't appear abused, the officer said. "After a little while, I gave him a treat and we went outside and he hopped in the car like he was ready to go on a trip," said Saleh, who has a 5-year-old Boxer named Rocco.
Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter also complimented Saleh, saying his efforts are the reason the public has "great trust" in its police force.
"Just getting him a family and being able to see him whenever I want now is enough of a bonus, but getting a citation and getting to meet the commissioner and the county executive is just like a cherry on top of everything," said Saleh, who was a U.S. Customs Agent for more than a decade before becoming a Nassau cop.
The Upton family was already showering Brooklyn with affection Monday. Brian Upton, who was joined by his wife Kerry, 37, went in for a belly-rub. Joseph, 8 months, grabbed Brooklyn's black leash and put it in his mouth and Catherine, 4, petted Brooklyn and called him a "good boy." James, 6, promised to clean up after the newest family member, and Matthew, 9, said: "I've always wanted a German shepherd mix and that's what he is."