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.