Community stands behind West Union cop and her dog

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WEST UNION, Iowa (KCRG) Dozens of people packed the West Union city hall chambers Monday night in support of Sierra Fox.

The city is asking Sierra Fox to give her K-9 dog, Xena, back to the city after she resigned as police sergeant. Many in the community call it an act of injustice because Fox said she was forced to resign after being the victim of sexual harassment on the job.

"It's going to be more than a black eye for West Union it's going to be a scar," said Jaime Hackley.

Fox's sister, Jessica Billmeyer, said Fox has the right to keep Xena.

"She isn't bought through taxpayer money," said Billmeyer. "She's all through donations and fundraisers that Sierra's done herself and that the community has done."

Her sister said the dog lives with her and they have a special bond.

"It's going to crush her," said Billmeyer. "She doesn't have kids, her dogs are her babies."

The city said it's more complicated than that, though. Mayor Adam Keller directed the public to the next police commission meeting, instead.

"She can keep the dog until the 19," said Keller. "She still has a week. She's still her handler right now."

With the fate uncertain, Billmeyer said West Union as a whole will be by her side throughout the process. She even created an online petition that's garnered more than 2,000 signatures from people supporting her effort to let her keep the dog.

"To see that we have that many signatures about a profession that's not always supported is amazing," said Billmeyer.

Fox filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. She accused Police Chief Paul Bechtold of using explicit and sexist language when describing her. Her attorney, Katie Ervin Carlson, said city administrator, Nick McIntyre, pressured her to resign after she complained about the harassment.