A police K9 dog in Montville Township, Ohio, died after being left alone for more than four hours in his human partner’s cruiser, 19 Action News reported. The officer is being disciplined for the accident.
Sgt. Brett Harrison was at the station around midday to work on case paperwork. When he returned to his vehicle several hours later, he discovered his two-year-old K9 partner Beny in the rear passenger kennel, dead from heat stroke. EMS responders at the station were unable to revive Beny.
Harrison left the dog in the car with the windows open and vehicle turned off as temperatures rose to 79 degrees.
Police chief Terry Grice said that Harrison parked the vehicle in the shade and thought he had left the car running. He called the incident a horrible mistake.
In a letter of apology and grief, Harrison called Beny a member of his own family, saying that he wished he could trade places.
“You will always be in my heart and I will miss you every second of every day,” he wrote. He has been given a two-week unpaid suspension and has had 40 hours of vacation revoked.
Grice described Harrison as caring deeply for Beny—who lived with Harrison and his family when off-duty.
“Sgt. Harrison is overwhelmed with grief, and is taking this loss very hard,” said Grice.
The department is implementing new safety equipment to prevent future accidents. The Medina County SPCA has been notified, and may press charges.
This is the second incident of K9 car death since August, when a North Carolina police K9 was left in a patrol car overnight. The officer in that incident was reassigned as a result.