A Bexar County, Texas Sherriff’s Deputy is on administrative leave today, while investigations continue surrounding the death of two police dogs in his care. The pair of Belgian Malinois appear to have suffered from heat exhaustion after being left inside a sweltering hot county vehicle overnight.
According to MySanAntonio.com reports, the deputy, Steve Benoy, left work with the dogs around 2pm and drove the county owned Chevy Tahoe fitted with dog kennels to his home, as he did every day.
“He had a routine,” Deputy Chief Ronald Bennett told reporters.
But that Tuesday, Deputy Benoy left town for the night. When he returned on Wednesday, he was surprised to find the dogs weren’t inside his home waiting for him. Instead, the dogs were still in their kennels, in the back of the Chevy Tahoe, dead from apparent heat exhaustion.
According to The Weather Channel, the high temperature on both days that the dogs were left in the vehicle was 96 degrees.
Names and ages of the K9 police dogs are not being released, but Bennett confirms one was a trained narcotics dog, the other was assigned to patrol.
“It’s just a very tragic accident,” Bennett said, adding that Benoy “is completely devastated.”
Deputy Benoy has been a K9 handler for 13 years. Depending on the results of the investigation, he could face an animal cruelty charge which is a Class A misdemeanor in his county.