Police are in touch with the State Attorney’s Office about possible charges after a police K-9 left inside a patrol SUV at the Melbourne courthouse Friday later died.
- Sebastian Police K-9 was left in patrol vehicle at Brevard courthouse
- Authorities responded to officer’s home, where dog was dead in vehicle
- Temperature in Melbourne on Friday was 88 degrees
- JUMP TO: INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: How hot can your vehicle get?
Diesel had only been with the force for about a year, and now his partner could be facing animal cruelty charges in his death.
“This is a tremendously sad day, personally and professionally,” said Commander John Blackledge of the Sebastian Police Department.
Investigators say the officer, whose name isn’t being released, was involved in a court hearing at the Brevard County Courthouse in Melbourne.
What’s still unclear is how long he was there, and how long was Diesel in his patrol SUV.
Questions remain about the SUV itself, equipped with air conditioning and other sensor equipment designed to protect the dog inside should something go wrong.
“I don’t know what the circumstances were in this situation, we will find out during the investigation,” said Commander Blackledge.
Diesel had been with Sebastian Police Dept. for about a year. (Sebastian Police Dept.)
An emergency call was made at about 7:30 that night, according to heavily redacted police documents.
The dog was dead in the vehicle when authorities responded to the officer’s Melbourne home.
The dog’s death appears to be accidental, they said.
“It’s a sad, sad situation, because K-9s put their heart and soul into working with us and give us everything,” Melbourne Police Lt. Chery Trainer said. “It’s devastating for anyone, so our hearts go out to Sebastian.”
The high temperature was 88 degrees on Friday. However, at that outside temperature, the inside temperature of a vehicle can reach 130 degrees in about an hour.
News 13 was told the officer is off-duty for the next couple days, normal days off.
His work status is up in the air until Melbourne Police complete their investigation, and after that, Sebastian PD does an internal investigation of its own.
Brevard County Animal Services is also involved. A necropsy is planned to determine exactly how the dog died