Another police K9 was found dead of apparent heat exhaustion, in the back of a parked patrol car in Gainesville, Florida.
Alachua County Sheriffs Deputy Tommy Wilcox drove his patrol SUV home after a SWAT situation, put away his gear, and left in his personal vehicle to meet his family. Some time later, he realized that he hadn’t brought Robbie inside the home, that he was most likely still in the vehicle and rushed back home.
It was too late. K9 Robbie was already deceased in the back of Wilcox’s police SUV.
The K9 patrol vehicle does have safety features in place to prevent such an incident, including windows that automatically roll down and a fan that turns on when temperatures inside the vehicle reach a certain temperature. However, the SUV has to be turned on for it to work. Wilcox’s SUV was parked and turned off with Robbie locked inside.
Temperatures outside that day were in the 90’s. Inside the vehicle, temperatures could easily have reached well into triple digits.
An investigation into Robbie’s death is ongoing. As details emerge, it is possible that charges will be brought against Deputy Wilcox.
Wilcox is currently on administrative leave. It is unknown whether he will be assigned another police dog.
In 2008, Wilcox adopted another K9 partner, Kozer after the dog retired from service. Wilcox euthanized the aging dog by shooting him, a procedure that, at the time, was not illegal but prompted a policy change requiring aging and infirm K9’s to be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian.