PITTSBURGH - A post-mortem exam shows a police dog died of heatstroke after being left in his handler's parked squad car for nearly four hours, according to a western Pennsylvania police chief.

New Castle Police Chief Thomas Sansone isn't identifying the officer who was handling Chico, the 6-year-old Dutch shepherd that died Saturday. The dog was found unresponsive in the car parked outside the station about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The Lawrence County district attorney is also investigating to determine whether criminal charges are warranted, Sansone said.

Investigators determined the dog was left in the car for about 3 hours, 45 minutes, based on interviews and a review of surveillance video from the police parking lot where the car was parked, Sansone told the Associated Press yesterday.

The dog's handler is suspended without pay pending an internal investigation.