Houston police K-9 who died was inside cruiser that gave no warning when it shut off, HPD says

Daniela Hurtado Image
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
K-9 officer dies inside cruiser that stopped running, HPD says
A Houston Police Department K9 officer died when the running cruiser it was in stopped running Monday, the HPOU president tells ABC13.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One of the Houston Police Department's four-legged officers is being mourned a day after he was left inside an HPD cruiser that stopped running.

HPD confirmed 4-year-old K-9 Aron's death from heat exhaustion Monday.

In a statement released Tuesday, the police department explained Aron's handler left him in "a running, air-conditioned patrol vehicle, which is a necessary and common practice when the K-9 partner is not actively engaged in police work."

The statement continued, "When Aron's police handler returned to the vehicle, it was discovered that the engine had shut off and Aron was in distress. He was transported to an emergency veterinarian clinic but ultimately succumbed to the heat."

Houston's high temperature on Monday reached 94 degrees.

Police explained that K-9 units are typically equipped with a system that notifies the handler, sounds the horn, activates cooling fans, and rolls down the window in the event the vehicle shuts down. However, this did not happen, HPD said.

Doug Griffith, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union, told ABC13 that Aron was placed in a regular HPD cruiser.

Police did not disclose where the emergency unfolded, but Griffith said it happened at an HPD training facility.

HPD said an investigation and inspections of all vehicles transporting K-9s are underway.

"Please keep Aron's handler and the entire K-9 team in your prayers as they mourn the loss of Aron," HPD's statement concluded.

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