A South Carolina officer has been stripped of his responsibilities as a dog handler and suspended without pay for five days after he left his police dog in a squad car for eight hours.
The dog, a Labrador Retriever named Turbo, died after over-heating.
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook announced the discipline of Officer David Hurt Thursday following the death of Turbo in July.
Hurt had deactivated his vehicle’s heat alarm, which would have alerted people nearby to the temperature in the vehicle rising to a dangerous level.
“I guess the simplest way for me to start is to acknowledge that we made some mistakes,” Holbrook said at a news conference.
Hurt had parked the vehicle in the shade in a high school parking lot, where he was attending training, from around 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Hurt told his supervisors that he left two year-old Turbo in the back, but rolled the rear windows down and kept the air conditioning on, according to Holbrook.
He reportedly asked another officer to check on Turbo at around midday, who told him the dog was fine. But when Hurt went back to the vehicle at 3:30, Turbo was panting and frothing at the mouth. He recognized the signs of overheating and called for help, but Turbo suffered organ failure and died two days later.
Holbrook said Hurt had not given “any logical reason for why he deactivated the heat alarm.”
Hurt will not face any criminal charges, but has been removed from his position as a police dog handler, suspended from the bomb unit for six months and suspended without pay for five days.