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A Long Beach, California police K-9 was found dead inside his handler’s hot patrol car, leading to an investigation and a review of the department’s safety systems.
Ozzy, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois/German shepherd mix, worked in the Long Beach Police Department’s drug investigations unit where he and another K-9 officer were credited with sniffing out more than $25 million in illegal drugs.
It was devastating for the community that he served when, on August 14, Ozzy was found dead inside his off-duty handler/officer’s patrol vehicle at around 3:40pm when outside temperatures were about 84-degrees.
It is has not been revealed how long Ozzy was left alone in the patrol car before his death, which veterinarians confirmed was heat related. But, Long Beach Police said the incident was accidental and that a heat alert system inside the vehicle may have malfunctioned.
Ozzy’s death was first announced by the department in a Facebook post:
Following Ozzy’d death, the Long Beach PD initiated an investigation into the incident, including looking at the equipment, circumstances, and its safety protocols. Police believe the heat/safety alert system inside the vehicle may have malfunctioned.
Since the incident, all K-9 handlers must now check that their heat systems are working properly before each shift as part of their daily protocol.
“Once this review is completed, the department will assess this tragic accident and ensure it does not happen again,” Long Beach Police Department public information officer Arantxa Chavarria told KTLA5.
“Our department is mourning Ozzy’s loss as we would with any of our employees. Our K-9s are an indispensable part of our department, and we will continue to view them as partners.”