Happy end for NYC man who went to jail rather than give up dog
It was a ruff battle, but Brooklynite Barry Myrick is on his way to owning his beloved former canine co-worker Roxy — after going to jail in his fight to keep her — and he has a Post reader to thank.
“I was on pins and needles during the negotiations, but I keep Roxy — that’s the most important thing,” the 37-year-old, who recently signed the settlement paperwork, told The Post. “She’s all mine, forever.”
Myrick was a bedbug inspector who worked alongside Roxy for four years until the start of the pandemic last March, when he chose a voluntary layoff rather than pivot to working as a COVID cleaner without the pit bull mix.
He was then hit with a legal battle from his former employer, M&M Environmental of Queens, when he refused to return Roxy. Myrick believed the company had forfeited its claim to her.
Myrick was so committed, he turned himself into the NYPD after being slapped with charges of grand larceny for keeping Roxy, and spent a night in jail last August.
Now the criminal case against Myrick is “almost certainly” being dropped, according to his lawyer William J. Kurtz, and Myrick and M&M have struck settlement terms that will allow the Bed-Stuy resident and his wife to keep Roxy.
M&M lawyer Gary Port told The Post in January that training a dog like Roxy can cost $15,000, adding: “My client did not give this guy a gift of $15,000.”
When reader E. Powell Miller saw that, he pledged $15,000 for Roxy’s freedom.
“This story hit my heart. You could see the love between Barry and Roxy,” said Miller, a Rochester, Mich., lawyer. “[M&M] said it cost $15,000 to train the dog, so how can they say ‘no’ to $15,000? I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities in life. I could always make more money, but is he ever going to get another Roxy again?”
Miller said that he has sent the money to Myrick, who confirmed that M&M representatives agreed to sign their part of the paperwork this week.
Myrick’s plight touched people all over the world, who also contributed $17,425 to a GoFundMe page that went to cover his legal fees.
Miller — a married father of three and dog dad to Sammy, a Yorkie, and Houdini, a Shih Tzu — said that he was inspired by his aspiring vet tech daughter and animal advocate wife to step up. “I can understand that the company invested in the training, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it was in the best interest of Roxy to stay right where she is — with a family who loves her.”
It was the answer to Myrick’s prayers. “He’s a hero to our story. The power of a good deed is unreal,” Myrick said of Miller.
An appeal by M&M for Myrick to return Roxy was denied by a New York County Supreme Court in February, a week after The Post’s story ran.
“We weren’t given an option to buy her until their appeals were denied, which should have happened on day one — a chance to work something out,” Myrick explained.
Kurtz added that the compensation should take care of M&M’s costs and then some. “They have enough to not only acquire and train a new bug sniffing dog, but to handle the expense of the handler too,” he said. “This covers the loss of Roxy and Barry.”
(J&K Academy in Florida, which trained Roxy, charges $11,500 for its Bedbug Detection Canine Program.)
Miller said he’s looking forward to his next visit to New York, when he can meet Myrick and Roxy in person, but for now he only has one request: “I told Barry I’d like a photo of Roxy.”
As for Myrick, he said he “feels a moral obligation to pay it forward. I’ll find a way to do good,” he said. “In a time of such division, everyone can agree dogs are family. They’re not property and you can’t separate them [from loved ones]. Love transcends everything.”