Dogs & Laws

K9 Officer Dies of Heat Stroke in the Back of Hot Patrol Car

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A Montville, Ohio police officer is suspended and facing possible criminal charges after leaving his K9 partner, 2-year old German Shepherd, Beny, in the back of his cruiser for more than four hours without air conditioning or an opened window.

Beny, who was Officer Brett Harrison’s personal pet and K9 partner, had been with the police force for over a year. When Harrison arrived at the police station on that late September morning, he believed he had left the car and air conditioner running for Beny, who was inside a crate in the back seat of the cruiser. When he returned to his car 4 hours later, Beny was dead of heat stroke. It was 79-degrees outside.

When asked why the dog was left in the car, Police Chief Terry Grice explained that it is standard procedure for K9 officers to wait in the cruisers, with either the windows down or the air conditioning on.

He told WKYC, however, that the officer responsible is devastated.

“This is a loss that words cannot describe, and it is very difficult for everyone involved,” said Chief Grice. “There is no doubt that this loss will have a lasting impact on Sgt. Harrison and our entire department. Sgt. Harrison cared deeply about Beny He worked with him 40+ hours a week and Beny lived with Sgt. Harrison and his family when the two were off duty. Sgt. Harrison is overwhelmed with grief, and is taking this loss very hard.”

Officer Brett Harrison wrote the following apology after Beny’s death:

Dear Township Trustees,
I want to start by expressing my deepest apology to Montville Township, the Trustees, the citizens, the police department, my fellow officers and to my partner, Beny. I’m sorry to bringing this upon everyone.

I apologize to the trustees and police department for putting you all in this horrible position. I know that it is an unenviable position to have to deal with a situation as sad as this. I’m also sorry for the sadness and grief that you were put into. Most of all, I want to say I’m sorry to my partner, friend and loving family member Beny. I wish everyday that I could go back and change that day or that I could put myself in your place. You will always be in my heart and I will miss you every second of every day.

I want you all to know that I will never forget any of this. Once again, I am sorry.

Brett Harrison

Officer Harrison is currently suspended from duty. In his 7-years with the department, he has never had a single disciplinary action against him.

The SPCA is investigating and a prosecutor will determine if charges will be filed, whether this was wreckless behavior, negligence, or a tragic accident.

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  1. Avatar Of Sandy Mancuso

    Sandy Mancuso


    This is very sad and should not have happened! The dog suffered the from the “standard practice” of this officer and his police department. Perhaps the “standard practice” should be changed, to include a dog kennel inside the police department so the K9 unit can have a supervised and climate controlled environment for their “K9 officers” while their human officer are not with them. This would avoid this situation and the other factors such as pollution, wasting of gas and perhaps the malfunction of an air conditioning unit for the officers that remain locked in a vehicle. This practice happens here in Canada as well and it should be “mandatorily changed”!!!

  2. Avatar Of Rebecca Brown

    Rebecca Brown


    Brandy Arnold, I’m sorry for your loss but I wish you had rescued instead of getting a puppy. There are so many great dogs being killed every day because people only want puppies. Its so sad.
    As for this case, throw the book at him! How did he “think” he left the ac on? Sounds like a ridiculous excuse to me. He killed an innocent dog. I hope if he’s allowed to remain a cop, he never has a K9 partner ever again.

  3. Avatar Of Jude Crookston

    Jude Crookston


    Same thing happened to a policeman friend many years ago. Police cruiser engine stalled out and of course the air conditioner quit as well. It only took 20 minutes to kill the K9. I think it should be against the law to leave K9s in the cars for ANY length of time. It’s just too dangerous for the dog. A lot of time and money is spent on training these magnificent animals. What a shame to put them such danger.

  4. Really…..just a freaking apology….anyone else would be held by thumb screws…serve time, its a felony now….what he did is common sense NOT to do….ISNT IT A POLICE MOTTO…..

  5. Avatar Of Sandi



    No excuse for this!! My pets well being is ALWAYS in the front of my head. I regulate the temp in our home before I leave the house every time for crying out loud. You don’t leave animals and children in a car PERIOD!! If you must leave an animal in the car ALWAYS put the windows down or better yet, leave your pets at home!! In the officers case, his K9 was a cop! Bring him INSIDE the department!! Why was the dog left outside in the first place??

  6. Avatar Of Debbie S

    Debbie S


    I’m sorry – you worked with him 40 hours per week and you can’t remember that you left him in the car — why would you leave him in the car at all? He should have gone everywhere with you if you loved him so much. I’m sorry – I don’t buy your love. It sounds like something you are saying for the papers/reporters and your supervisors. You don’t forget someone you love and let them bake to death in a horrible, painful, slow way. Prosecute him for animal abuse. Period.

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