Arizona officer suspended after police dog dies in patrol car

The K-9 was euthanized due to complications caused by heatstroke

An Arizona police officer received a 20-hour suspension over the hot car death of his K-9 partner. 

Maricopa Police Officer Craig Curry left the Belgian Malinois named Ike inside his patrol car, with the air conditioning running, while he attended a department meeting on June 26, 2020. The temperature on that day reportedly reached 108 degrees. When Curry returned to the vehicle nearly two hours later, he noticed it had shut off and Ike was in serious distress in the backseat. 

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The K-9 was euthanized the next day due to complications caused by heatstroke. The beloved pooch served with the department for 11 years, PEOPLE reports. 

“Officers and professional veterinary staff locally and in metropolitan Phoenix did everything possible to save his life. We would like to thank the veterinary staff for their tireless work and concern,” former Maricopa Chief of Police Steve Stahl said at the time.

According to a report by the state Department of Public Safety, Ike’s death was avoidable. Curry failed to check up on the animal every 30 minutes, per department policy. He also had the option to bring the dog with him to the meeting. Additionally, the officer had a device called the K-9 heat alarm that would have warned him when the temperature inside the car became too hot for the canine, but Curry left it in his car when he went to the meeting. 

According to the National Police Dog Foundation, heat exhaustion is a major cause of death for active police K-9s. When temperatures rise inside a vehicle, the K-9 heat alarm activates the patrol car’s siren, rolls down the back windows, and alerts the handler on a beeper or on their cell phone, according to the organization.

Curry said he didn’t have the pager on him because he was trying out a new body camera that took up space on his vest, per The Associated Press

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“Officer Corey has been with us for many years and he was distraught,” said Maricopa Police Chief James Hughes. “It took its toll on him.”

Twitter/ Maricopa Police Department

The officer will not face criminal charges over the tragedy.

“With any incident of this magnitude, as well as in our day-to-day practices, we always look for ways in which we can improve.” Chief Hughes said. “We have taken a hard look at our policies and procedures, implementing preventive measures to ensure something like this will never occur again.”

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