DC police dog found dead inside K9 vehicle

A bomb-sniffing dog with the District’s bomb squad was found dead after being left unattended in a vehicle outside of headquarters in Northeast D.C. late Monday morning.

D.C. police said in a news release that a 7-year old Malinois Shepherd named K9 Rocket was found dead by his handler “inside of a marked MPD K9 vehicle.”

Police said that the vehicle had been parked and was idling in front of the bomb squad’s headquarters in the 2800 block of New York Avenue.

D.C. police sources familiar with the investigation told WTOP news partner NBC Washington that the dog was left in the car with the air conditioning running, but at some point, the air conditioner failed.

It is unknown how long K9 Rocket had been left unattended inside of the police vehicle or whether the length of time follows police guidelines.

Although Monday’s temperatures in D.C. only reached the 80s, temperatures inside a sealed vehicle without air conditioning running can quickly become dangerous, even fatal to animals and children.

Police vehicles that handle dogs are equipped with “hot pup” devices that alert the dog’s handler if temperatures rise to unsafe levels and, in some cases, lower the vehicle’s windows automatically.

In the news release, police say that “a full inspection of the vehicle is being conducted to determine if the system malfunctioned.”

Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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