The Long Beach Police Department in California has announced the death of one of its own: K-9 officer Ozzy, a German Shepherd mix, died last week after being left in a hot patrol vehicle.
What are the details?
The LBPD announced Ozzy's passing on the department's Facebook page Friday, clarifying that "preliminarily we believe this was an accident and we are taking all the necessary steps to avoid this from happening in the future."
In the press release, officials explained that Ozzy died on Aug. 14, and was discovered by his handler at approximately 3:40 p.m. "At the time of his death, Ozzy and his handler were both off-duty and Ozzy was inside the officer's department issued K-9 vehicle," the release read. "Our K-9 vehicles are outfitted with fail/safe equipment that is meant to generate an alert. At this time, we believe this alert may not have been working."
The Los Angeles Times reported that "midafternoon temperatures in Long Beach the day the dog died were between 81 and 84 degrees, according to a weather archive." The paper reminded readers that "it only takes 15 minutes for a hot animal to suffer brain damage."
Some followers on the LBPD's Facebook post blamed the dog's handler and one told the police department as a whole, "you should be ashamed of yourself." Others were sympathetic, with one person saying, "the family and officer are going through their own hell so please think of them and their personal loss."
Along that vein, the Long Beach Police Department did say in their news bulletin, "We ask that you respect the handler and his family. Our department is mourning Ozzy's loss as we would with any of our employees, our K-9's are an indispensable part of our department, and we will continue to view them as our partners."