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Police officer leaves K-9 in hot patrol car, dog dies of heat stroke

Belgian Malinois sitting on car dog-sad
© Long Beach Police Department (CA) - Facebook

The events took place in Long Beach, California, on August 14th. A police officer left his Belgian Malinois dog in the patrol car while he was off duty.

By Justine Seraphin , 29 Aug 2019

Temperatures reached 28 degrees that day. Though it may not seem so hot, temperatures in a parked car can rise to twice that in just 20 minutes.

Temperature chart for hot car

Tragedy hits

When the officer returned to the vehicle, he found his dog in an unconscious state, and with closer examination, realised he had passed away.

Once seen by a vet, the cause of death was confirmed as a case of heatstroke.

An unintentional mishap

Long Beach police public information officer Arantxa Chavarria released a statement on August 23rd, almost 10 days after the events occurred. He explained that every K-9 vehicle is equipped with a ‘fail-safe’ which includes a heat controller system that uses a mobile app to signal when the vehicle is getting too warm.

Sadly, the officer’s alert system was not working that day. He was unaware the vehicle was getting too hot, and failed to return in time to save his dog.

Chavarria reminds the public that this incident was unintentional, and that they should respect the officer and his family as they mourn the tragic loss of their beloved pet.


LBPD's Statement Regarding K-9 Ozzy's Death

Posted by Long Beach Police Department (CA) on Friday, August 23, 2019

Learning from their mistakes

Since the incident, all K-9 patrollers have supposedly been checking their heat controller systems to avoid another catastrophe.

However, it is illegal in California to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle under conditions that endanger its health or well-being. So we hope police officers will have learned from this event that it is unacceptable to leave an animal in a hot car, no matter for how long.

Rest in peace, sweet Ozzy.


The #LBPD is extremely saddened to announce the death of K-9 Ozzy. At the time, Ozzy & his handler were both off-duty...

Posted by Long Beach Police Department (CA) on Friday, August 23, 2019