Dogs & Laws

Mississippi K-9 Dies in Hot Patrol Car Parked Outside Police Department

A Vicksburg, Mississippi police K-9 died after his handler’s patrol car malfunctioned and shut off, leaving him trapped in the hot car.

K-9 Thor | Vicksburg Police Department

Vicksburg Police, and the entire Mississippi community he served since 2012, were devastated by the death of K-9 Officer Thor. An 8-year old German Shepherd, Thor was trained in both criminal apprehension and narcotics detection credited in more than 60 felony arrests and assisting in many drug cases.

Thor was found in distress at about 4:15pm on Tuesday, September 3, after the patrol car he was in malfunctioned and shut off, leaving him trapped inside without air conditioning. The vehicle was parked outside of the police station where temperatures had reached 95-degrees when the accident occurred.

Thor was rushed to an emergency veterinarian for care, but succumbed to heat-related injuries Wednesday morning.

Despite increased public awareness and the passing of laws across the country that make leaving animals in parked cars illegal, family pets and K-9 officers continue to die in hot cars every single year. Between 2011 and 2015, 46 police dogs died while locked in their patrol cars.

Heatstroke is so common, in fact, that it results in more deaths of K9 officers than gunshots, stabbings, and auto accidents each year. Heat-related incidents are the one of the most common causes of canine officer deaths, second only to medical and health-related issues.

The Vicksburg Police are ruling Thor’s death a tragic accident and it is unlikely that any charges will be filed. They have not announced whether additional safety measures and fail-safe procedures will be put into place to prevent such a tragedy in the future.

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