A Texas police dog died Monday after being left alone in a hot car — just a week after a Georgia K9 succumbed to the same fate.
Aron, a 4-year-old K9 with nearly two years on the job, died from heat exhaustion in Houston after the cruiser’s engine spontaneously failed and shut off the air conditioning, the city’s police department said in a statement.
Aron’s handler — who had left the pup in a running and air-conditioned vehicle — returned to find Aron in distress and rushed him to an emergency veterinarian, but it was too late.
The unidentified handler is reportedly struggling to deal with the tragedy.
“I know he is devastated,” Greg Smith, the co-owner of Integrity K9 Texas who worked with the handler in the past, told KHOU11.
“He and his dogs are just, it’s like the rest of us. Just an ultimate bond … Seems ridiculous to say but you’re actually with that dog more than you are your family. It’s like taking care of your kids and it becomes a bomb just like a child.”
Aron and his handler were members of the bomb-sniffing unit at George Bush International Airport.
The department claims the system all its K9 cruisers are equipped with — which notifies the handler, sounds the horn, activates cooling fans and rolls down the car windows in the case of an engine shutdown — had malfunctioned.
HPD said it’s having its vendor inspect all of the K-9 patrol units immediately to prevent any other similar tragedies from happening.
Last week, with faulty air conditioning.
The canine was left inside the running car while his Cobb County Police Department handler was undergoing active-shooter training inside a Georgia high school.
Similarly to Aron’s case, the cruiser’s safety control system — which turned on the car’s lights and sirens, automatically lowers the windows and turns on a fan — did not activate or alert the handler that the temperatures inside the car were rapidly rising.