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New Castle, Pa. — Chico, one of the New Castle Police Department drug and patrol dogs, died Saturday after his fellow officer and handler reportedly left him for over two hours in the back of a locked police cruiser.  The dog was found unresponsive in the car parked outside the station.

Chico, a 6-year old Dutch shepherd, had been with the police department since late 2009. The Pittsburgh office of the National Weather Service reported that temperatures in New Castle on Saturday reached a high of 90 degrees. A local Veterinarian, Charlene Arendas, said, “I would never leave a dog in a car even with the windows cracked, once the temperatures reach 80 degrees.”

“When it’s close to 80 degrees, and you leave your dog in a car, you are putting it at risk.” added Arendas. Babies are okay, though.  That was sarcasm, people…  Sarcasm.

A police press release did not say whether the car was left running or if the air conditioner was on.  The car was reported to be equipped with a fan and a system to open a rear window in hot weather.

New Castle police Chief Thomas Sansone hasn’t officially identified Chico’s handler, but news reports have named Patrolman James Hoyland. The handler has been suspended without pay while an investigation is ongoing. Sansone said the Lawrence County district attorney is also investigating.

A memorial service for Chico was held today.

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Comments


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  • Anonymous

    Moron handler.  I wonder if he’ll be slammed with the charges of killing a police officer as any criminal who kills a police dog would be or if he’ll be shamed and slapped on the wrist.

    Also, perhaps that car should be checked out?  I know at least in SC that the K9 unit vehicles are indeed equipped with automated air conditioning systems that kick on and cool the vehicle when interior temperature reaches a certain level.  They’re also equipped with automatic watering systems as well.  Certainly if hick-ville Ladson, South Carolina can have such features in their rickety K9 cars, a PA squad car should have the same, if not better.

  • Same thing happened here a couple of years ago.  Negligent handler goes inside the air conditioned police station to do paperwork leaving her dog in the car and it died from the heat.

    Poor dog. . .and all that money wasted.  Thousands are invested into turning these dogs into police dogs.

  • Anonymous

    Poor Chico.  I’d like to think maybe the car was equipped but failed somehow, and the cop isn’t a complete fucking asshole, but I have a feeling that’s not the case.

  • Anonymous

    The cop is now a cop-killer.

    RIP, Chico.

  • Anonymous

    Cops almost never have to face the charges when they commit crimes, but they make damn sure everyone else gets no leeway. That poor dog suffered and the officer should be slammed with at the very least animal cruelty charges and at most killing a police officer.

  • Cassy

    I would assume the cars would be equipped, too. I mean, if a cop goes on a call, it’s completely feasible the dog will be left behind and it’s not always possible for the handler to get back to the car if there’s drama going on some place.

    I think it’s a bit different than forgetting a child (well, for more than the obvious “it’s not a human” reasons) because the dogs are intended to be left in the car for reasonable periods, if they’re working a call… children are never supposed to be left in a car.

    I’m going to cut the officer some slack. I can see forgetting about the car if he went into the station, and planned on being 5 minutes then got side tracked on some work…

  • Anonymous

    It’s a dog. It can be easily put back into a car (unlike children & their carseats) & it welcomes the walking since it mostly sits on the back waiting.

    You should be slapped upside the head.

  • Anonymous

    Felony animal cruelty. (period)  But I am the law will certainly prevail.

  • Anonymous

    Trust me PA is no better than SC. 

  • Anonymous

    @Cassy_1963:disqus It was definitely the cops responsibility to verify that the cooling mechanism was in working order *before* the dog was left in the car, just as it his responsibility to maintain or get other equipment fixed.  I would think that some quality control protocols would have been in order before the beginning of the hot season.

  • Anonymous

    i agree.  as far as i knew, police are supposed to be like pilots doing a preflight equipment check before leaving in a cruiser.  i also agree with jgo555 in that getting a well-trained police dog in and out of a car would simply be a matter of opening the door.  sad and unnecessary.

  • Are you freaking kidding me?! Fire that cop. I cannot see someone with his character protecting the people of the city.

  • Are you freaking kidding me?! Fire that cop. I cannot see someone with his character protecting the people of the city.

  • Are you freaking kidding me?! Fire that cop. I cannot see someone with his character protecting the people of the city.

  • Are you freaking kidding me?! Fire that cop. I cannot see someone with his character protecting the people of the city.

  • Are you freaking kidding me?! Fire that cop. I cannot see someone with his character protecting the people of the city.

  • Are you freaking kidding me?! Fire that cop. I cannot see someone with his character protecting the people of the city.

  • Are you freaking kidding me?! Fire that cop. I cannot see someone with his character protecting the people of the city.

  • he’ll be shamed and slapped on the wrist.
    that whole blue honor, badge brothers or what ever they call it crap goes along way.

  • this guy better loose his job etc..

  • Anonymous

    I am agreeable with the fact that he should be charged with killing a police officer.  Hands down.  If someone else was watching the dog and did this, the handler would be out for blood.  As it stands I’M OUT for blood.  If he gets no punishment, I hope they NEVER give him another partner.  He can’t even take care of a highly trained K9

  • Anonymous

    Nah, I’d say murder of a police officer.  It holds a stronger sentence.  Though I’m certain that such won’t apply to a boy in blue.

  • Anonymous

    Could be that the equipment was working but failed soon after the cop left, and it didn’t cross his mind that he should run out and check on Chico seeing as he left the dog in what he thought was a properly equipped car. You know?

  • Anonymous

    Well I suppose its a possibility, but a slim one.

  • Anonymous

    We’ll kvetch about this until the cow comes home and then, like everyone else, Chico will be forgotten. The police officer/handler will be reprimanded. Everyone at the assigned station will pretend it never happened so not to take a chance with their paychecks (like people who work with pedophiles). The sun will go down and in the morning it will all be forgotten.

  • malq

    This is the same car that shows up to take you in if your child is in a hot car.