Oklahoma K9 officer dies from overheating in police SUV

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Zeke died after he was left in a police SUV for 20 minutes with the air conditioner on. The temperature in the car still reached 130 degrees. (KTRK)

Another police dog has died after being left in a hot car.

Zeke was left in a police SUV in Muldrow, Oklahoma for more than an hour with the air conditioner running, KHBS-TV reports. When the officer came out to check on him, Zeke was dead.

Police Chief George Lawson says the AC unit in the SUV malfunctioned, allowing temperatures to reach 130 degrees in a very short period of time.

Several people have criticized the officer on social media.

"He's taking a lot of blame for something that he had no control over," Lawson said. "What they don't understand is that K9 was family, not only to the officer but to us here at the police department as well,"

Department policy calls for dogs to be left in cages in the patrol unit unless they are actively tracking or searching for drugs. There are alarms available to alert officers if their vehicle begins to get too warm for their K9's, but the police department doesn't have them saying they are too expensive.

The K-9 death comes only weeks after a police bloodhound died in Rockdale County, Georgia. CNN reports that an officer forgot the dog in his patrol car overnight after feeling ill during a 12 hour shift.

That was the second K-9 officer death in Georgia in July. In Savannah, a 7-year-old German Shepherd named Gaston died on July 10th after being left in a car for three or four hours. According to WTOC-TV, his handler brought some groceries into his home and meant to return to get Gaston. However, the Savannah State Officer fell asleep. When he went to get the dog, Gaston was dead.

In June, another K-9 died after being left in a hot car while the officer attended a hurricane workshop in Gulf Shores, Alabama. WKRG reports that Mason was still alive when the officer returned to the car, but the dog died a short time later at a veterinarian's office. The officer in that case was sanctioned.
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