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Another Letter to the Editor

I don't usually spam my local paper with letters, and since I just had one published on the 1st, they may not publish this one. But my heart was broken by a local story, and I had to speak to this tragedy.

This past weekend, a police dog was left alone in a parked car with the engine running for almost four hours. He was found unresponsive in the back seat and rushed to a veterinarian, where he died. The cause of death was heat stroke.

The air conditioning unit in a parked car will fail after awhile in excessive heat. They simply can't do the job. An emergency sensor on the car, that is supposed to put the windows down if the internal temperature is too high, also failed.

But almost four hours alone in a car?!


I spend a lot of time on the Internet, reading news stories and opinions. The comments section is followed by more opinions and rushes to judgment of people they do not know.

The same thing happens locally.

In light of this, I was dismayed to see [the paper] release the name of the police officer allegedly involved in the death of ******, the police dog, when the police department was clearly not ready to do so. I wish [the paper] was above such tactics.

When an animal suffers and dies at the hands of humans, whether it was intentional or not, we are outraged. We want to assign blame.

I am trying not to do that.

I do not know this man or his attitude towards dogs. But when I saw that [the dog] had been left in a parked car for almost four hours, I was aghast.

At the very least, this officer showed a tremendous lack of good judgment and too heavy a reliance on technology.

But other questions remain. How thoroughly was this officer trained who had only been partnered with this dog since January? [The police chief] suspended the K-9 program and gathered the other officers involved in the unit to go over procedures concerning the handling of their dogs. Hindsight is 20-20, but perhaps safety training and care should be reviewed annually.

It is never a good idea to leave a car running for hours in any weather with no capable adult around. Any number of mechanical failures can damage the car itself, let alone any animals, or worse, people, inside.

Lastly, how often is this window-lowering emergency sensor tested? When had it been tested last in the car where [this dog] died?

I hope these, and other questions will be answered soon.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 11th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
That's extremely sad.
Jun. 11th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
I linked this over on Facebook, and someone who knows the officer said that the guy is devastated, and this really was just very poor judgment on his part.

I wouldn't be in his shoes now for all the money in the world.

They waited to release information until last night. I was expecting at the most that the dog had been left alone for a couple of hours, which is bad enough. But when I saw "three hours and forty five minutes," I couldn't believe it.

It's very sad, indeed.
Jun. 12th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
Poor dog. :(

They should be better prepared/trained for those kind of situations with police dogs.
Jun. 12th, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, this was completely unnecessary. The officer was working an extra four-hour shift, doing paperwork. The dog was off-duty, and should have been in his kennel, which the story implied, was located elsewhere.

Edited at 2011-06-12 12:17 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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