Working Dogs in the News

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.

Thor
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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48 Comments

48 Comments

  1. Avatar Of L. Evans L. Evans says:

    I am so angry to hear that so many K9 officer dogs have died in hot cars. What the hell is wrong with these people? No wonder when I called a couple years ago in august which runs near me the 100°f in NC WHEN i found 3 dogs locked in a mini van at a restaurant that the police did nothing LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN NOTHING! Thank Goodness they did not realize their hatch was unlocked and I was unable to get in and give th bowls of water bc I found bowls in the car. The people came out after 3 hours later after eating and listening to a band and instead of saying thank you for spending your evening making sure our dogs were ok and had water they yelled at me and threw water at me and threw water bottles at my car. The police saw it and said I could press charges and I should have but I let it go. The lady said they are ok I am a veterinarian and I said no you are not bc there is no vet I know that would leave 3 dogs in a car in the middle of august to go feed their fat faces instead of going through a drive through somewhere. And god help you if you are bc I will find you and ruin your reputation. They made me sick and the police made me more sick bc they saw no problem with it. And now I know why bc they do the same thing to their dogs. It is all too much to me it is the same as killing a kid. What a miserable way to die.

  2. Avatar Of Jill Jill says:

    I think that a alarm should be wired into the car alarm or sirens, so that if the dog is left and the car shuts off or left to long it should sound an alarm or turn the sirens off.

  3. Avatar Of Abbigail

    Abbigail

    says:

    Our whole family knows this man personally, and he’s a good friend of ours. He wouldn’t intentionally leave his dog in a car that he knew would cut off and his dog would die. I’ve met the dog personally and the love between them was inseparable. Unfortunately, bad things happen and i think people shouldn’t be so quick to judge a situation that was truly an accident. i pray for this family, he also had a memorial type statue painted for him by one of my family members.

  4. Avatar Of Jennifer Walker

    Jennifer Walker

    says:

    This is bullshit!!! He should be charged just like everyone else this has happened to. Smh… so if I leave my kid in the car running and locked and my car dies I can say this and get away scott free?? Hmmm I think not!!!! He deserves same punishment as everyone else in the world cop or not!! Thisbis where the law fails us all!!

  5. Avatar Of Jerry

    Jerry

    says:

    Of course he won’t be charged…he’s a cop. I guarantee you, however, that if it had been a civilian in the exact same situation, he or she would be looking a long prison sentence. Yet another case of a police officer being immune to the laws to which they, and we, are supposed to obey.

  6. Avatar Of Jdbffj

    Jdbffj

    says:

    GIVE HIM 45 FUCKING YEARS

    • Avatar Of Betsy Collins

      Betsy Collins

      says:

      If you read some other articles, on this topic, you will see that it is often standard procedure to leave K9 officers even for hours in air-conditioned cars. I don’t agree with it, but many of them are supposed to have sensors that prevent hot car deaths. However, by all means absolve the car manufacturer completely of any responsibility in this situation. I’m sure they appreciate your support.

  7. Avatar Of Sue Lehue

    Sue Lehue

    says:

    How in the world could a cop leave his partner in the car to die an accident no cop should ever make that mistake. He should be held responsible for leaving his partner in the car I do not feel sorry for him at all I feel sorry for his partner who he let die

  8. Avatar Of Deborah

    Deborah

    says:

    Apparently if you claim “equipment failure” as your reason an animal has died from being in a hot vehicle you can get away with killing your pet.. I wonder how many people have been charged with animal cruelty for the exact same situation or is it just the police that can claim “equipment failure” and recurve no punishment.. This is not acceptable on any level.. not only was this a specially trained partner but I wonder how much it costs for training that the public pays for..

  9. Avatar Of Nikki Avail

    Nikki Avail

    says:

    They should be charging his handler with death of a police officer the same they would a civilian. The dog shouldn’t have been left in the car period if he was planning on being gone for lengths of a time. If the car “malfunctioned” that means the dog had to have been left out there for a long time to have been killed.

    • Avatar Of Melissa Melissa says:

      Not true a dog could die without no air in just a half hour

    • Avatar Of Judy Denton

      Judy Denton

      says:

      I totally agree. WTF. You should NOT have left the dog in the car. Should not happen. Babies & animals die alful deaths in hot vehicles. Unfucking believable!!!

  10. Avatar Of T

    T

    says:

    He needs to be charged with murder!! Give him the same 45 years they gave the guy who shot a police dog when they bust in his front door. This was no accident he did that intentionally!

  11. Avatar Of Delores

    Delores

    says:

    This just breaks my heart what the hell is wrong with anyone that don’t check every five to 10 minutes to ensure no malfunction to their equipment happens or occur especially if you are leaving a fur baby in your dam car he should be charged with cruelty period

  12. Avatar Of Keisha Keisha says:

    Why didn’t Sgt Slaughter get 45 years? This murder don’t even sound believable.They just trying to clean it up and sweep it under the bed.The car malfunctioned or not the dog shouldn’t have been in the car.No telling how long the murder left the dog in the car it had to be at least 30 minutes.DOG KILLER

  13. Avatar Of Xris

    Xris

    says:

    But if a person killed that dog they would go to prison, why is it always okay for cops to murder?

  14. Avatar Of Bobby

    BOBBY

    says:

    SO WILL THE OFFICER BE CHARGED FOR NEGLECTFUL ACTIONS, WILL THE OFFICER HAVE ANY CONSEQUENCES, ALSO YOU WOULD THINK WITH ALL THE TAXES COLLECTED/FUNDS GIVEN TO STATES AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS THESE CARS SHOULD BE EQUIPPED WITH THE BEST OR WELL MAINTAINED

  15. Avatar Of Chris

    Chris

    says:

    There’s no excuse for this. They need to have a kennel or crate inside the dept for the dogs while their handlers are in the office. Leaving the car running while they’re not near isn’t acceptable either. People have been charged for leaving a running vehicle, so why the double standard??

  16. Avatar Of Steve Spratt

    Steve Spratt

    says:

    The cruiser Should have been equipped with a fail safe thermostat to where the rear windows automatically go down at a certain temperature regardless if the car’s running or not, at least ours are that way and will even activate the siren an lights for a overheated temperature warning of the cage area, should have never happened

  17. Avatar Of Curtis

    Curtis

    says:

    I say put its handler behind bars the fact is if we make a slight mistake they would hang us now let’s talk about favouritism hit him with abandonment or abuse for even aggravated assault like they would hit us with

    • Avatar Of Johnwayne World

      JohnWayne World

      says:

      You said it brother public officials stick up for each other they know dang on well that car didn’t malfunction get the data recorder box it will tell us what we need to know

  18. Avatar Of Deeann Cartwright

    DeeAnn Cartwright

    says:

    There is no excuse good enough. Leave the windows partly open. Carry an earbud to hear the dog if in distress. Cover your assets!

  19. Avatar Of Sherry

    Sherry

    says:

    So Long Beach where k-9 Izzy died said it was due to car malfunctioning and now MS where Thor died is saying same thing humlies

    • Avatar Of Magda

      Magda

      says:

      How the hell does a car malfunction? Either the ignition was on or it wasnt. This shit is neglect. But just because it’s an animal it’s ok, right? What makes a humans life any better if we’re treating each other like shit and destroying our planet in the process? Fuck this article and its use of words. Stop trying to sugar coat it. They should all be held accountable. This kind of thinking is why the world has gone to shit, and maybe it should given the way people are treating it. Screw all the officers that were careless with their K-9s. This is such horse shit.

  20. Avatar Of Cheryl Diaz

    Cheryl Diaz

    says:

    He killed his own partner. I sure wouldn’t want this police officer watching my back.

  21. Avatar Of Tresa Tresa says:

    I’m sorry but I think this police officer should be held accountable for the death of his fellow police officer. He isnt above the law anymore than a civilian who does this. There was no excuse for him to be left in that car especially right outside the police department. Total negligence on his part.

    • Avatar Of Sam Rodewald

      Sam Rodewald

      says:

      He should be charged with negligent homicide of a police officer at the very least. He should also have to pay for the cost of purchasing and training a new canine officer. If people were held accountable for their “mistakes”, then maybe they would be more careful.

  22. Avatar Of T J Humphrey

    T J Humphrey

    says:

    I’m sorry to Thor’s handler, but there is no excuse good enough! Outside the police station? He could have taken Thor inside. Thor is his partner. He is supposed to watch out for his partner. They need to stop leaving their K-9 dogs in their cars. If it happened a few times it will happen again. Don’t leave them in the dang car! It was not an emergency.

  23. Avatar Of Rita

    Rita

    says:

    Police should be fired from duty how could he forget just like a father of a child goes to jail for neglect do should the cops

    • Avatar Of William

      William

      says:

      Police need to take their dogs with them into a area for the dogs at the station. No excuse for any K 9 to die this away… Police officer should have never left his partner. So .

  24. Avatar Of John Zolis

    john zolis

    says:

    I can’t even count how many times police officers have killed their companion k9’s when will police protect those officers? Only when punishments are handed out will these officers stop murdering their fellow compatriots

    • Avatar Of Rita

      Rita

      says:

      Should be punished fired and spend some time in jail neglect!

    • Avatar Of Lm

      LM

      says:

      Exactly! as this is a reoocurring issue, i am stummed by the numbers of k9 who die every year, there need to be laws against leaving K9 dogs in a car! obviously these k9s need to be protected if this is such a reoccurring problem.

      to me it says that these poloce officers do not care enough about their dogs if they are left in a patrol car rather than being taken inside. So so sad.

      And criminal!

      In the meantime there must be consequences for these officers!
      They must be held accountable or nothing will change. what a horrific death for a being that did so much for us!

      that police officer must be punished!after some time in jail he should never be allowed to have K9 partner again. and he should get a taste of his own medicine! Malfunctioning.. right!! It’s neglect and abuse!!

      Somehow I’m not surprised this happened in Mississippi! though it probably happens everywhere with as many deaths reported per year.

      I had no idea this issue existed and these amazing K9s serving in police depts were being abused this way!!

      IT MUST STOP!

  25. Avatar Of Nanette M Valencia

    Nanette M Valencia

    says:

    I agree that cops get preferential treatment and that’s unacceptable considering they work for us

    He should be charged with killing an officer

    What would happen if it had been a human trapped in that car with handcuffs?

    These animals serve us and their lives are important.

  26. Avatar Of Olive

    Olive

    says:

    Bullshit!!! This fucking officer needs to charged with negligence just like any other civilian!!!

    • Avatar Of Elena

      Elena

      says:

      This person should be charged with animal abuse and homocide:He murdered that dog plain and simple

  27. Avatar Of Tom T

    Tom T

    says:

    The patrol car malfunctioned and shut off, leaving him trapped in the hot car. No criminal intent an accident without negligence! Use of a heat detection alarm maybe now can be on the purchase agenda. Build one using thermostat, batteries and external alarm set at desired temperature .

    • Avatar Of Doglover

      Doglover

      says:

      Stupid cop..at the police station, really take your partner in inside,
      Special place in hell for people this uncaring, hope it haunts him forever….

    • Avatar Of Monica

      Monica

      says:

      Just take the dogs inside! Why leave him in the car? And no, no criminal intent, but did he not check on his dog? How long was he out there? The dog was confined to the car. It’s not like he could get out and go inside when the car shut off. I think there should be an investigation and consequences. Whether you see the dog as part of the family, a partner, or just a tool used by the department, this was neglect.

  28. Avatar Of Maz

    Maz

    says:

    This is unacceptable; car malfunctioned? NO the handler is responsible & should be arrested for animal cruelty.

    • Avatar Of Cindy Phillips

      Cindy Phillips

      says:

      I totally agree with the fact that the officer who left him in the car should be charged with “Animal Cruelty “. If it was me or any other regular citizen, we would have been charged with it. So , why not the officer ???

    • Avatar Of Shawn

      Shawn

      says:

      Double standards for police ..if it were me or you that killed that dog ..we would be charged with murder of a police officer…

    • Avatar Of Robyn robyn says:

      I agree, cops get away with murdering dogs all the time. Cops need to do there job , NOT dogs.

      • Avatar Of Isabel

        Isabel

        says:

        If it was a reg person with child they be charge for it .but it a police officer it ok they call it accident poor dog

    • Avatar Of Florie

      Florie

      says:

      The car malfunctioned, oh please. Did the dog’s partner MALFUNCTION as well?

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