Police: K9 Officer Left In Cruiser For Nearly 4 Hours

NEW CASTLE (KDKA) — Authorities have released new details today following the death of the New Castle Police Department’s canine officer in Lawrence County.

According to New Castle Police Chief Thomas Sansone, video surveillance shows 6-year-old Chico was in the back of the locked police cruiser for three hours and 45 minutes.

The dog was found unresponsive in the New Castle Police car last Saturday. He was taken to a veterinarian, but died.

Investigators say the car’s windows were rolled up and the air conditioning was on; however, the system shuts off automatically if left on for an extended period of time.

Also, police say the “hot dog system,” which automatically rolls down the windows and sounds an alarm, may not have been activated.

The officer who is the dog’s handler has been suspended without pay.

An internal investigation by the police department continues and the district attorney’s office is also conducting an investigation.

A memorial service was held for the dog this morning. Chico, a Dutch Shepherd, had been with the police department since 2009.

New Castle Police Department

New Castle Police Dog’s Death Under Investigation
More Local News

  • Thomas J Duttine

    His handler should never be allowed to touch another dog as long as he lives…MORON!

    • Angelica Smith

      This idiot should be charged with a felony death of an officer. No excuses! The department is already making excuses for him!!

  • LEK

    I only wish I could have attended his memorial. As an owner of German Shepherds who come from police dog lines, I can not believe anyone would treat an officer this way. His handler needs to be fired.

    • Justin

      fired, Fired, FIRED!!! He should be imprisoned.

  • Mary

    Why is he not being charged with assault on an officer? ANY civilian who hurts a police dog is charged with assault, this officer should be charged the same. If I were to leave my dog in a hot car while I went into a store and anything happened to him, I would be arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

    • Mj Pampena

      I AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Charles


    • CMS

      I completely agree, only I think his handler should be placed in a hot car for 3 hours, and then be charged with everything if he makes it!

  • bob

    Do you people read????????? Does it not say right here “The officer who is the dog’s handler has been suspended without pay.

    An internal investigation by the police department continues and the district attorney’s office is also conducting an investigation”

    INVESTIGATION!!!!!!!!!!!!! which means they are looking into and and charges may be filed! READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tracy Morse

      Why not wait until the investigation is complete. Perhaps something happened and it prevented the officer from returning in the time he expected. This whole thing could be just an accident. Thoughts go out to the family.

    • Kate

      Whoa there buddy, you might wanna take a breath before your heart leaps screaming out of your chest.

    • Mj Pampena

      shut up

      • Mj Pampena

        NOT YOU KATE The one your talking about!!!!!!!

  • Laura

    Isn’t this murder or involuntary manslaughter (for lack of a better word). This makes me sick. Just what was the other officer doing for 3 hours and 45 minutes? I wish I could have made it to the memorial.
    Someone lock the other officer in a car with no air for 3 hours and 45 min….

  • Jackie

    I’d like to know what this cop was doing for almost 4 hours while his partner was dying. So sad.

  • Just Saying...

    As a slightly unrelated point, why was the car left on with a dog in it for nearly 4 hours? Last I checked, gas was not cheap and police gas is paid for by the tax payers.

    • Charles

      Agreed. What exactly was the cop doing anyway? Something not in the line of duty?

      • Karen

        Yeah, that’s what I want to know. What was the officer doing for those 4 hours?

  • Sam

    Perhaps you are all unaware of how police dogs spend their days. Their vehicles are equipped with those systems for a reason. Don’t comment on what you don’t know.

    • bt

      you must live in a world where systems and machines don’t break down. Hope you don’t have animals.

    • Charles

      Agree with Brian. Sam, please enlighten us on what you know about standard poliice procedures as well as the details of this incident.

      • john

        standard police procedure, am sure talking with budies about happy hour after work. They dont give a damm and this country in a mess.

    • Brian

      Regardless of how police dogs spend their days, there are some valid points here. What was the officer doing for 3 hours that he didn’t take a minute or two to check on his partner, on an almost 90 degree day? If your going to leave the car running with the A/C on, why NOT crack the windows as well…JUST IN CASE? When was the last time this “system” was checked or tested? Please enlighten us on what YOU know…

  • patti

    the cop should go to jail he knew better

  • Dr. Heffner

    what a moron. He should be left in a cruiser for the same time period on a 90 degree day. What a disgrace

  • Erin Logue

    You can only be charged with criminal assault or murder against another HUMAN BEING, not an animal. However, I think that this is a terrible situation and the Officer should be fired. That poor dog had no reason to die — he relied on his handler to care for and protect him. The pure negligent and careless behavior of the Officer should be punished. I hope he will never serve in the public interest again.

    • Erin

      I am unaware of any statute or regulation that could possibly establish any animal (even a law enforcement animal) to have the status of a human being. I am sure that there is some law that could heighten charges of animal cruelty to a law enforcement animal in order to give a more severe punishment for harm of such an expensive and highly respected animal . . . but a court could never reasonably hold a K-9 Officer to have human status nor charge a defendant with actual murder for killing a K-9 Officer. Where did you get your facts?

    • Bea

      Don’t believe this is true, there are laws that elevate a K-9 officer to the status of person. If they are killed in the line of duty, the person can be charged with murder of an officer.

      • Dave

        I don’t believe this is true. Most states have a 3-5 year jail term for killing a police dog in the line of duty. I don’t know what Pennsylvania’s is but I don’t know of any state that equates an animal’s death to the of a person’s.

      • Dill Hole

        That’s insane A DOG IS NOT A PERSON !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andrea

    What a rotten human being!!! Lock him in a police cruiser for three hours and see how he likes it!!! LOSER

  • chance

    Anxious to hear a report of the incident details. REGARDLESS….PURE NEGLIGENCE!

  • Bea

    There seems to still be something off with the story. If it was mechanical failure of the safe dog system, and not human error, why then would he have been suspended and an investigation still being pursued? Shouldn’t be both, unless he didn’t follow some protocol for leaving the dog. I’ve met officers with K-9 partners, they treat them just like human partners, maybe better. Something is off with what this officer’s actions were.

    • Erin

      Would you leave your human partner locked in a car for almost four hours with no way of getting out? Doubtful.

      • Mj Pampena

        thats what Im saying the cop is an idiot !!!!!

  • kristy

    if the poor dog was left in the car that long, temperature notwithstanding, don’t you think his handler would’ve checked on him and gotten him out of the car to relieve himself? TOTAL negligence.

  • T-n-T

    This cop is a complete moran, that poor dog. Let’s see if it was a human partner that you didn’t see or check on, for almost four hours…….YOUR not a good partner, let alone an animal that can’t warn and or tell you he’s roasting to death. If this cop is allowed to keep his job, beware citizens of New Castle, cause he or she is an IDIOT!!!

  • KM


  • BT

    They should release the poor excuse for an officers name so he can be properly ridiculed! If a civilian committed this crime his or her name would be plastered all over the news. Taking an hour lunch break with out checking on the dog is absurd let alone almost 4 hours!

  • Kate

    they see me trollin’, they hatin’…

    • Dave

      LMAO! Perfect!

  • Deserie

    i think he should be fired. fined and put in jail … that person should never be a cop as long as he lives.. IDIOT..SLIME BALL.

  • No class

    Really Nancy? What if this were your kid, or another famliy member that was left in the car this long. Would you be as callous? I think not. This dog was an officer of the law. So go enjoy your barbecue you piece of trash

    • Realist

      Kid? I agree with Nancy. An animal is not a human being! Too many freaks out their don’t see the difference. Eat your chicken and remember, God put animals here for human’s enjoyment, entertainment and dinner table. MMM burgers!

  • Loves Crosby

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME… YOUR JUST HEARTLESS.. What if that was your child or a member of your family.. MORON

    • Realist

      A Moron is a person who thinks their child is equal to their dog.

      • Get Real

        Seriously Realist? I believe you are a Moron. How about we leave you to bake in a car for almost 4 hours with no air or water…then see how you feel…You’re an idiot

      • kristy

        i KNOW a child isn’t equal to a dog. a dog is MUCH better.

      • Amazed!!!

        OMG, that is sad. Dogs are wolves that people domesticated. They eat them in some countries. We slater and put down animals everyday. Farmers do not get attached to their animals. Just because we get attached to them dose not make them human…..dogs are not much better than children. Besides what is a dogs life span 12 yrs. Why should this officer that also puts his life on the line get charged for killing a human. Come back to Reality folks.

      • Harry Boards

        Why don’t you go save all the dogs at the humane society…

      • kristy

        oh, if only i could, but i already have four special-needs dogs and am fostering four kittens, due to peoples’ irresponsbility. and you . . . ?

      • For kristy

        kristy…you go girl! I foster 4 cats with feline leukemia. I love them to pieces, but I also know their time with me is limited. And for those who say animals are not part of the family…apparently you don’t see those happy tails wagging when you walk in the door..or the joy a dog gets when you throw that frisbee for the upteenth time…of the happy purrs of contentment of a cat who just had the best fish they ever ate…think about that before you post your foolish nonsense. As for the policeman who left his dog in the car..what comes around goes around. He’ll get his

      • Harry Boards

        try having a kid…and you won’t worry about your pets tail. humans are of more concern.

      • To you Harry

        Harry..I do have 3 children…ages 9, 6 and 2..How about you? Or do you have a smart ass answer fo rthat also…Or in reality..are you just a sad lonely guy who can’t get a woman/man because he’s so miserable and pathetic?

      • Harry Boards

        again…bigger concerns in this world…you want a guy to lose his lively hood because he made a mistake with a dog. He protects the community…not many people remaining that do that. You liberals will argue to hear yourself. Get a job and quit blogging… give the cop a break.

      • Sheila Gredzinski

        so animals should have no concern from humans? are you yet aware that humans who abuse animals do the same to humans? what is wrong with you that you cannot feel the pain of all life?
        I love my Grandchildren and all my rescues. I have the ability, and the compassion, to love all.

  • file felony charges

    any way you look at it his negligence lead to the death of another police officer

    i think the charges should stand as such and not some mere slap on the wrist

    If you or i killed a cop we would be in prison

  • Me


  • Me

    What are you talking about?

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