Every summer there are more and more stories of irresponsible pet owners leaving their defenseless animals in a hot car. Sometimes good Samaritans are able to intervene, but all too often the pet dies.
Every story like this is tragic, but the latest one coming out of Melbourne, Florida is even more so. That's because a police dog has lost its life and his handler may be to blame.
The corpse of the dog, named Diesel, was found early Friday night, and may have been in the car for most of the day. Temperatures in the area that day were in the high 80s, meaning that the car would have been well over 120 degrees.
The patrol car belonged to the Sebastian Police Department who are now investigating. Sources say they are looking into reports that the handler may have forgotten the dog in the car during a visit to the courthouse.
"The officer is devastated...it's just awful," said Lt. Cheryl Trainer, spokeswoman for the Melbourne Police Department.
She went on to say that although there was no intent, they are still talking with the state attorney's office. Charges may be pending.
Diesel had completed his training over a year ago, but it's unknown how long he served with his handler.
Although shocking, the issue of police dogs dying due to neglect is not uncommon. PETA issued a report showing that since 2012 nearly 2 dozen police dogs have died in similar fashion. Cars used by K-9 Units are routinely equipped with safety features to alert handlers when car temperatures exceed a certain amount.
There's no indication that such an alert went off in this case.