A police dog named Serge died of “heat exhaustion” last week after an alarm system failed to alert his handler that the air conditioner had malfunctioned in the car he’d been left in, police in Camden, N.J., said Monday.
“Most of the electrics went out. And the air conditioner, instead of cooling the vehicle, was pulling all the heat from the engine. [The dog] probably went in like 10 minutes,” said Joe Rodriguez, supervising trainer at the Atlantic County K-9 Academy in Egg Harbor Township, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Apparently, both the air conditioner and heat alarm failed, Rodriguez said. Rodriguez who trained the German shepherd and his handler, said the alarm is designed to set off a siren and roll down the vehicle’s windows when the temperature inside rises too high.
The dog was found dead in the vehicle, parked outside police headquarters in downtown Camden. The temperature that day, Thursday, reached a high of 92 degrees.
“We still have much more investigating to do before we determine causes and issue conclusions,” Police Chief Scott Thomson said.
The death of police dogs from heat exhaustion — often while they are waiting in cars — has been an all-too frequent occurence across the country this summer.
“It has been a problem with some law enforcement due to malfunctioning equipment, some of it due to human error,” said Russell Hess, national director of the U.S. Police Canine Association. “We usually hear about it every summer.”
Rodriguez, who trains K-9 officers from all over New Jersey, said he recommends that handlers check their dogs every 20 minutes — even when their vehicles are equipped with heat alarms.
“They’re like anything else. They can be hit or miss,” he said. “You get a false sense of security.”
Serge, not quite two-years-old, joined the Camden police force in January.
“He had already captured a bank robbery suspect and had assisted in several other apprehensions as well,” said Chief Thomson.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: air conditioning, animals, camden, car, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, german shepherd, heat, heat alarm, K-9, k9, malfunction, parked, pets, police, police dog, serge