California police dog dies from heat-related illness after left in K-9 vehicle: report

California police dog dies from heat-related illness after left in K-9 vehicle: report
© Long Beach Police Department

A police dog with the Long Beach Police Department in California died from heat-related issues after he was left in his handler's department-issued vehicle, authorities told the LA Times.

Ozzy, a 6-year-old K-9 who worked in the department for more than five years, was found dead on Aug. 14.

Officers called it a tragic accident due to a possible technical malfunction. According to the Los Angeles Times, the officer and dog were both off duty when the incident happened. 

The police department has not publicly identified the officer who worked with Ozzy. An investigation into the death is underway.

“A veterinarian examination of Ozzy and the preliminary results determined the cause of death to be heat-related,” Long Beach police public information officer Arantxa Chavarria said in a statement. “Our K-9 vehicles are outfitted with fail-safe equipment that is meant to generate an alert. At this time, we believe this alert may not have been working.” 

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The Times reported that temperatures on the afternoon of Ozzy's death were between 81 and 84 degrees, though it's unclear if the officer and K-9 were in the city at the time.

Chavarria told reporters that all K-9 handlers have been taking extra precautions since the incident and regularly checking vehicles heat system controllers before shifts.