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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.
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.