SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – A Southaven police K-9 is dead after it was left in the back of a hot squad car.
The police chief has said the dog should have never died.
Chief Steven Pirtle said there are normally alarms in K-9 cars to prevent a tragedy like this from happening.
Commentary by Jon Masters
The alarms sound a siren and send an alert to officers if the car reaches a certain temperature.
For some reason though, the car that K-9 Gunner died on Tuesday did not have the equipment installed.
Gunner was a 6-year-old lab mix that had a nose for sniffing out drugs.
The chief confirmed that Gunner was left in a squad car Tuesday that was not running.
The safety equipment designed to prevent the death was not installed either.
When Gunner’s handler, who has not been identified, realized his partner had overheated in the backseat it was too late.
He rushed the K-9 to the Horn Lake Animal Hospital. Veterinarians tried to save Gunner, but he passed away.
Chief Pirtle said that he is personally investigating why the proper equipment was not installed and said he, “…fully anticipates disciplinary action.”
People in the community also wanted someone held responsible.
“Punish him to the fullest extent as if I left the dog in the back,” said one Southaven resident.
It is unclear what Gunner’s handler was doing while the car was turned off, but if he is found responsible, the Southaven PD may lose another officer from their department.