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Ohio police dog dies in overheated cruiser


An Ohio sheriff said he may take disciplinary action against a deputy after a police dog died because it was left inside the deputy’s hot vehicle.

Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said police dog Zak was found dead about 1 p.m. Wednesday when his handler, Deputy Chad Fortkamp, returned to his car after completing a crash report in the station.

Grey said Zak is only supposed to be left in the vehicle when it is running and the air conditioning is on.

An autopsy performed on Zak showed he had a pre-existing heart condition, but a veterinarian said a perfectly healthy dog probably wouldn’t have survived in that heat, Grey said.

There will be an investigation about why Zak was in the car and why the car did not have its air conditioning on.

Grey will then make a decision about disciplining Fortkamp.

“I am deeply disappointed and apologize to the members of the Moose Lodge, the Eagles of Celina and others who helped fund the K-9 program,” Grey said in a statement. “In 2010, the Moose Lodge donated $5,000 and the Eagles donated $1,500 for the purchase of Zak after K-9 Bleck died of an intestinal obstruction. It is my intent to get answers as to what happened.”

The sheriff’s department said it will suspend the K-9 program after losing two dogs in the past three years.