A Pennsylvania Department of Corrections drug-detecting dog died of heat exposure on Thursday after being locked in a squad car, according to news reports.
The dog was mistakenly locked in a squad car for two and a half hours while in the care of its Department of Corrections handler, said a report by PennLive.
Department Spokeswoman Amy Worden told the news site that two-year-old yellow lab Totti was left in the car at the state prison at Rockview.
At 12:15 p.m., Sgt. Chad Holland, the dog's handler, had stored training materials in the car after a training exercise, Worden told Penn Live, not realizing until 2:44 p.m. that the dog had been locked in. Handlers and Drug Interdiction Unit staff used ice and a hose to try to cool the dog off, Penn Live reported.
While the dog was conscious when he was taken to a veterinary clinic at 2:58 p.m., his heart rate was still high by 4 p.m. despite stabilized body temperature, Worden told Penn Live. Totti died at 7:30 p.m.
"Everyone involved was incredibly and understandably upset and concerned for the dog," said a statement issued by the department and cited by Penn Live. "Unfortunately the dog did not survive. This has been very devastating for everyone involved."
The DOC plans a fact-finding investigation to review the incident.
K9 deaths are rare, but not unheard of. Thirty K9 officers across the county have succumbed to heat related illness since 2010 after being left in patrol cars, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page website.
In 2011, a New Castle, PA K9 officer, Chico, died of heat stroke after accidentally being left in his handler's patrol car. In Aug 2012, a Camden Police Department K9 officer, Serge, died after the patrol car's air conditioner and temperature alarm system failed.