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.Tags: Animal Cruelty, Chico, hot car, James Hoyland, K9, Pennnsylvania, Pennsylvania, Police, police dog