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


One Comment

  1. Thomas J Duttine says:

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

    1. Angelica Smith says:

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

  2. LEK says:

    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.

    1. Justin says:

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

  3. Mary says:

    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.

    1. Charles says:


    2. CMS says:

      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!

    3. Mj Pampena says:

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

  4. bob says:

    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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Kate says:

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

    2. Mj Pampena says:

      shut up

      1. Mj Pampena says:

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

    3. Tracy Morse says:

      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.

  5. Laura says:

    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….

  6. Jackie says:

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

  7. Just Saying... says:

    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.

    1. Charles says:

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

      1. Karen says:

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

  8. Sam says:

    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.

    1. Brian says:

      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…

    2. Charles says:

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

      1. john says:

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

    3. bt says:

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

  9. patti says:

    the cop should go to jail he knew better

  10. Dr. Heffner says:

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

  11. Erin Logue says:

    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.

    1. Bea says:

      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.

      1. Dill Hole says:

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

      2. Dave says:

        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.

    2. Erin says:

      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?

  12. Andrea says:

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

  13. chance says:

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

  14. Bea says:

    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.

    1. Erin says:

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

      1. Mj Pampena says:

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

  15. kristy says:

    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.

  16. T-n-T says:

    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!!!

  17. KM says:


  18. BT says:

    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!

  19. Kate says:

    they see me trollin’, they hatin’…

    1. Dave says:

      LMAO! Perfect!

  20. Deserie says:

    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.

  21. No class says:

    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

    1. Realist says:

      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!

  22. Loves Crosby says:

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

    1. Realist says:

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

      1. kristy says:

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

      2. Harry Boards says:

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

      3. kristy says:

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

      4. For kristy says:

        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

      5. Harry Boards says:

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

      6. Sheila Gredzinski says:

        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.

      7. To you Harry says:

        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?

      8. Harry Boards says:

        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.

      9. Amazed!!! says:

        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.

      10. Get Real says:

        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

  23. file felony charges says:

    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

  24. Me says:


  25. Me says:

    What are you talking about?

  26. quagmire says:

    3hrs45min W-T-F How did he or she get a job…. Should be subjected to the same treatment…charges should be filed for being an idiot…..

  27. Harry Boards says:

    common sense people! it was a dog…people are to “overly” correct…cry and complain about anything. There are bigger problems in this world…like why there’s always a ride closed at Kennywood. Have you ever been there when all the rides were open??

    1. FedUp says:

      You’re an ass.

      1. Harry Boards says:

        Do you have a dog??

  28. MsCynic says:

    Other station (WTAE) states officer failed to correctly arm the system which would have saved Chico’s life: http://www.wtae.com/news/28182173/detail.html.

    He picked up an additional shift and was patroling for the Housing Authority. The dog should have been safely left at home or put in his kennel while his handler worked his ‘second’ job. Sorry, this man (if he’s not fired) should NEVER be a K9 handler again, should be fined by the Humane Society, and should be forced to pay for a fully trained replacement. Sorry, but it’s stupid because it could have EASILY been avoided. I understand it’s a mistake, but it’s a mistake that killed an K9 officer, which is a VERY valuable commodity for any police department. A life ended because it was a mistake, ask the Humane Society how often these mistakes happen and people are charged!! They have the unattended vehicle (with suffering dog inside) on video. Idiot.

  29. p says:

    back in the day when a pittsburgh police dog was shot and killed in the line of duty, the person got charged with the death of a law enforcement officer. this person was only given 10 years, and i imagine if they killed a human officer they would of got life or death. still its something. not sure if i post a link for proof of my story KDKA will take my post down? this isn’t a normal dog, this is a police officer, risking his life everyday to protect you ignorant people, not only that but he does it for nothing and can track the criminal that just robbed, raped, assaulted you, etc.. down better then any other human officer or even machine could. so keep being ungrateful and i hope one of the above happens to you or a family member.

  30. steve says:


    1. Mj Pampena says:


      1. kristy says:

        better yet, have steve get his head out of his A$$.

  31. Harry Boards says:

    Who cares about the Humane Society! Too many animals…we don’t know what to to do with. What do they do with animals that nobody takes.?

    1. kristy says:

      yes, and it’s because of irresponsible, arrogant people that there are so many unwanted animals.

  32. Cmar says:

    Charges should be brought against the handler – animal cruelty PLUS this K9 was an officer should perhaps other charges should apply. Also the handler should never be allowed to own an animal. What an irresponsible act not to mention inhumane treatment. A brainless twit like this has no business in law enforcement. And to the moron who posted that no one cared about the police being killed in Pgh-you must be the most uninformed person in the area. Don’t know one person who was not saddened and outraged by their senseless death. Perhaps flippant comments from haters like clueless Steve fueled the shooter. These haters egg others on.

  33. Get it Right says:

    Could someone whisper into Kristines earpiece that the K-9 officer isn’t dead …..the dog is!

    1. cabmerlot1114 says:

      The K9 IS AN OFFICER…by every way, shape, and form…they have a badge, patrol with their human handler, have bulletproof vests (in some areas)…

  34. RedMosquito says:

    Make no mistake, we now live in a police state. The economy is in dire straights, but there seems to be an unlimited supply of cash for frivolous spending by law enforcement. A funeral for a dog? You’ve got to be kidding me. Look at all of the wasted tax dollars, who do you think pays for the vehicle maintenance and fuel for those cruisers? The tooth fairy? How do you think police dogs are trained to find drugs like cocaine and heroin? The animal is addicted to the drug. I don’t hear the animal rights activists making a sound about this fact. How many bootlickers are animal rights activists? Can you say hypocrite? The older I get the clearer it becomes; most people are little more than sheep, cliff diving lemmings if you will. A police dog is considered a police officer; a four legged animal with an I.Q. of 7-10 has more rights than most human beings, but at least it’s smarter than its two legged colleagues. Didn’t the Gestapo use “police dogs”? Just sayin’

    1. Seeking balance says:

      WOW you don’t know ANYTHING about training. These dogs are NOT addicted to drugs, they find them for the toy/praise reward afterwards. Dogs are invaluable for drug/bomb detection and nothing is superior for Search and Rescue either. Sorry, but people have the right to grieve ANY loss, and the community lost an invaluable tool that will be VERY expensive to replace (about the cost of the cars or more for a fully trained K9)!

      1. RedMosquito says:

        This isn’t rocket science, it’s fifth grade English. Here’s my quote; “The animal is addicted to the drug.” And here is a quote from my first reply; ” I know nothing of state police dog handlers giving their “partners” cocaine, nope made that all up.” It’s the handlers addicting the dogs AFTER (key word) the dogs are on the job. Get it? This isn’t procedure, but has been going on forever. Why do you think these dogs are so good at finding these substances through just about anything save Nalgene? Thank you for insulting someone you have never met and know nothing about, it really shows your character. Egg on your face would be a colossal understatement.

    2. kristy says:

      my god, are you for real?. a police dog, or any dog in general, has a higher iq than you. a police dog is addicted to drugs? LMAO! think before you speak, or, better yet, keep your moronic comments to yourself, as you’re obviously clueless. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” — Abraham Lincoln

      1. RedMosquito says:

        Talk about attacking the messenger; I just made all of that up, I know nothing of state police dog handlers giving their “partners” cocaine, nope made that all up. As anyone reading this can see , you people didn’t bother to read what I wrote. Where did I say anything about dog trainers addicting dogs? As you may now understand, it is the handler(s) giving the dogs the goods for that extra incentive. Corrupt cops? Say it isn’t so! Yep, you two are real geniuses alright; the leap made reminds me of a prohibitionist, i.e. if one advocates for drug legalization, the said advocate is a junkie. It isn’t that hard, but if you two are still having a hard time comprehending, I can draw it in picture form for you. What about the rest of my post? No comments? Yep, geniuses😉

      2. kristy says:

        genius – you wrote, and i quote, “The animal is addicted to the drug.” what do YOU deduce from that intelligent statement? if you re-read my post CLOSELY, genius, i didn’t say you wrote that trainers made the dogs addicts. yep, genius.

      3. RedMosquito says:

        This isn’t rocket science, it’s fifth grade English. Here’s my quote; “The animal is addicted to the drug.” And here is a quote from my first reply; ” I know nothing of state police dog handlers giving their “partners” cocaine, nope made that all up.” It’s the handlers addicting the dogs AFTER (key word) the dogs are on the job. Get it? This isn’t procedure, but has been going on forever. Why do you think these dogs are so good at finding these substances through just about anything save Nalgene? Thank you for insulting someone you have never met and know nothing about, it really shows your character. Egg on your face would be a colossal understatement

    3. kristy says:

      you posted your inane ramblings twice,” rocket scientist.”

    4. Seeking balance says:

      I train with K9 officers regularly (every Sunday in fact), so I can say with reasonable certainty that you’re completely off. Have yet to notice ‘egg on my face’. What difference does it make who ‘used’ police dogs?? They do what they are trained to do, period…… And, I did respond to the other comment as well, people are allowed to grieve anything that they perceive as a loss – and a loss of a K9 is a HUGE loss to the community.

  35. FedUp says:


  36. JustSaying says:

    What would happen if one cop causes the death of another cop? You’re right, a full investigation and serious repercussions if found guilty. This is no different. Chico was considered to be an officer of the New Castle police department. If a citizen caused his death they would be prosecuted and so should the officer involved here. At the very least they should lose their job and pension if not prosecuted for depraved indifference.

  37. Harry Boards says:

    What if it were another human…what if…what if…
    What if my aunt had balz…. serious people…I respect the police…but this was a dog. Get real….bunch of liberals…worry about the economy.

    1. kristy says:

      let’s hope you never need to have a military service dog, a therapy dog, a seizure detection dog, a bomb detection dog, an arson detection dog, a bedbug sniffing dog, a seeing eye dog, a cancer detecting dog, or a canine police dog help you. they serve more purpose on this earth than you, you fool.

  38. Harry Boards says:

    one dog…one kitten…both fixed…but don’t treat them like humans.

  39. Stef Betancourt says:


    i HAD 5 KIDS AND MY DOG GIVES ME MORE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. You raise your children but that doesn’t give you the right to abuse your pets. Don’t have a pet if you can’t treat them like a living creature

  40. Stef Betancourt says:

    Had kids but my dogs love is unconditional and his behavior is great. Kids grow up but dogs live their life with you. They have feelings and bleed just like we do

  41. aam says:

    just shows the tip of the iceberg regarding the police

  42. aam says:

    just the tip of the iceberg with the police

  43. aam says:

    print it

  44. Hockles says:


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