The canine officer's human partner — a veteran law enforcer who's been with the K-9 unit since 2001 — became distracted upon arriving at home on Aug. 14 and he inadvertently left the dog in his car. With Houston summer weather in full effect, the dog died from heat exhaustion.
"This is a tragic accident. Our officers have a wonderful bond with these animals."
"This is a tragic accident," HCSO public affairs director Alan Bernstein tells the Chronicle. "Our officers have a wonderful bond with these animals. The deputy is grieving, and it is a difficult time for the entire (K-9) Unit."
The deputy has been placed on administrative duty while an internal affairs investigation moves forward.
To prevent future K-9 deaths, Bernstein notes that the sheriff's office is considering a range of measures — including the use of a device that sounds an alarm if keys in the ignition of a patrol car remain close to a dog for an extended period of time.
PETA's website calls hot parked cars "deathtraps for dogs." Even on a pleasant 78-degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can climb to between 100 and 120 degrees in a matter of moments. On a 90-degree day, a car's interior will reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.