COBB COUNTY, Ga. – Police are investigating after a police K9 died in a hot patrol car Monday as authorities were undergoing active shooter training, according to the Cobb County Police Department and WSB-TV.
Just after 2 p.m., K9 Chase was found unresponsive in his kennel inside a patrol car at Allatoona High School, officials said. His handler, identified as Officer Neill, and other authorities attempted to revive him before rushing him to a nearby emergency veterinary clinic. Police said he died of heat-related injuries.
Officers began training at Allatoona High School around 11 a.m. and had been checking on their K9 partners hourly during breaks between 45-minute training sessions, authorities said.
“At some point after the previous check, the air conditioning system malfunctioned in Officer Neill’s patrol vehicle,” police said in a statement posted on social media. “Preliminary information indicates that other safety systems did not properly activate and the temperature quickly rose in the vehicle.”
Temperatures inside closed cars can rise to dangerously high levels in minutes and put dogs at risk of heat stroke, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association says hundreds of pets die of heat exhaustion in parked cars each year.
“This is a horrible incident and our investigators are continuing to gather information regarding the vehicle system failures that led to this tragedy,” police said Tuesday.
“K9 Chase was a beloved officer of the Cobb County Police Department and will forever be missed by us all.”
Authorities said Chase, who was trained for narcotics detection, criminal apprehension, tracking, building searches and evidence recovery, was a Belgian Malinois who was born in Hungary on August 13, 2018. He began his work with the Cobb County Police Department and Officer Neill in April 2020 and seized thousands of dollars’ worth of narcotics in the years before his death.
Chase was named after Locust Grove Police Officer Chase Maddox, who died after he was shot while helping to serve a warrant on Feb. 9, 2018, WSB reported.
Authorities said a necropsy will be performed on Chase at the University of Georgia on Tuesday.
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