Police K-9 Dead After Being Left in Hot Car for Nearly 3 Hours by His Handler: Cops
Police are investigating an officer whose K-9 partner died after being left in a hot patrol car for several hours.
In a statement to InsideEdition.com, the Cherokee County School District in Georgia said that Lt. Dan Peabody is a school resource officer who's been working with the district for the last 16 years.
Peabody, a certified K-9 handler, trained the 4-year-old Belgian Malinois since he was a puppy to serve with him, including tracking and detecting narcotics.
According to WGCL, Peabody arrived home at 4:15 p.m. Friday evening and left K-9 Inka in the back of his squad car with the engine turned off to "deal with another dog inside the home," officials reported in a press conference.
The Marshall's Office said that the temperature that day was reaching and exceeding 90 degrees, although it would have been much hotter inside the car.
Though it is unclear why Peabody left the dog in the car, it was not until after 7 p.m. that he returned to the patrol car and discovered Inka dead in the back seat.
"Peabody was very distraught, very despondent over it, naturally. Even to the point where he was transported to the hospital [the same night]," Cherokee County Marshall's Office Chief Ron Hunton said in a press conference.
According to Hunton, when officials responded on the scene, they determined his car was not equipped for a K-9 dog.
"You should not have a dog in a car that's not equipped for a K-9," Hunton said.
Offficials said Peabody let another officer use his K-9 squad car, and the Ford Crown Victoria he had driven that day was not equipped with cages or alarms. They believed that the car "played a factor" in Inka's death.
According to a school district statement provided to InsideEdition.com: "[Inka] served her community well and was loved by many, especially our students who met her through safety presentations."
A necropsy completed on Monday determined the K-9's cause of death was from heat stroke.
The Cherokee Sheriff's Office assured that a separate department is investigating the incident.
It is still unclear whether Peabody will face charges.