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Police K-9 Dies After Being Left in Hot Patrol Car

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Via Cherokee County School District Police
via Cherokee County School District Police

A Cherokee County, Georgia police K-9 was found dead in a patrol car Friday evening after being left alone in the vehicle for several hours while temperatures outside reached into the low 90’s.

Inca, a 4-year old Belgian Malinois was partnered with Cherokee County Lt. Dan Peabody, a school resource officer. Together, the pair worked at area schools conducting sweeps of vehicles, lockers, and classrooms to deter the possession, use, and sale of illegal substances on school property.

On Friday afternoon, about 4:15pm, investigators say Peabody drove home with Inca in the back of the patrol car. Normally, Peabody drives a specially outfitted K9 patrol car with a kennel and safety features to prevent a tragedy, but he’d lent his K9 vehicle to another officer whose vehicle was out of service.

When he arrived home, he parked the car, turned off the engine and air conditioning, and went inside to “deal with another dog.” Around 7pm, Peabody remembered Inca was still in the parked car.

Inca was already dead, presumably from heat exhaustion, by the time she was found.

Inca’s body was sent to the University of Georgia for a necropsy. Lt. Peabody was placed on administrative leave while an investigation into the dog’s death continues. If and when he returns to work, he will not be working with another canine partner. Officials report that Peabody was so grief stricken after the dog’s death that he was hospitalized Friday evening.

Although an investigation is ongoing, charges are possible in Inca’s death.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department issued the following statement:

The CCSD family is mourning the tragic loss of K9 police dog, Inca. She served her community well and was loved by many, especially our students who met her through safety presentations.

Lt. Dan Peabody, who has served with the CCSD School Police Department since 2000, was immediately assigned to administrative duties only and will not be working with a canine partner. Lt. Peabody, a certified K9 handler, raised 4-year-old Inca from a puppy and trained her to serve with him, to track and to detect narcotics.

In addition to the Marshal’s Office investigation, the CCSD is conducting an administrative inquiry and will be reviewing the K9 unit’s practices.

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  1. Avatar Of Trevor Imrie

    Trevor imrie


    I work with dogs , and you don’t forget there in the car , full stop , this bloke needs to be sacked , then prosecuted for dogs death , there’s no excuse at all mans best friend , and his best friend kills him , need I say any more

  2. Avatar Of Barb



    what do they preach? put something in the back seat you need when you get to your destination. this guy does not deserve to be with the canine patrol and should be prosecuted like anyone else

  3. Avatar Of Not Happy

    Not happy


    crying, crying, crying. The pain she suffered, gasping for air. Wish I could’ve been there to save her. No more to say.

  4. Avatar Of Felicia



    RIP Inca and thank you for your service….your partner failed you.

  5. Avatar Of Janie



    We are hoping that all those people that leave animals locked in a hot car be charged and here comes an officer and does the same!? Poor Inca may she R.I.P

  6. Avatar Of Maria



    He should be Terminated! He let his partner die! Shame on him! What is going on with these cops?!!!

  7. Avatar Of Marjorie H. Leinbaugh

    Marjorie H. Leinbaugh


    I cannot believe this keeps happening year after year. Do people NOT learn from the past? Are we dealing with idiots after all?. It is common sense. I would not even leave a plant in a car in these temperatures……let alone a living, breathing creature. Not to mention the cost to train this most valuable canine. What in the Hell are people thinking…..or NOT thinking.? Idiots abound!!!!!!! There is no escape…..sadly.

  8. Avatar Of J. Kats

    J. Kats


    He should have been terminated from his position. He let his Partner die!

  9. Avatar Of Ann Dombroskie

    Ann Dombroskie


    After all of the dogs that died last year and the year before I would have thought training would be better. What would happen if he left his kids in the car?
    RIP Inca!

  10. Avatar Of Lisa Dunlap

    Lisa Dunlap


    So are you saying the poor dog died because the Lt wasn’t smart enough to remove her from the car?

  11. Avatar Of J. Udoff

    J. Udoff


    How untrained this Police Officer must be about caring for a dog! This is not the first K-9 dog to die tragically by being left in the officers car. This is completely due to neglect, and ignorance. It appears that these officers do not deserve to have the responsibility of a valuable, irreplaceable trained dog. The time and money that is put into the training of these dogs are unmeasurable! This is an accident that is completely avoidable. It makes me so mad as a dog trainer to think that these hard working loyal dogs are handed over to irresponsible owners, that end up KILLING these dogs.

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