The Long Beach Police Department said Friday that a K-9 with the department has died after it was left in his handler's department-issued vehicle.
The 6-year-old police dog named Ozzy was reportedly discovered last week around 3:40 p.m. on Aug. 14. At the time, Ozzy and his handler were off-duty. The officer reported the K-9's death and an investigation into the death was initiated.
"A veterinarian examination of Ozzy and the preliminary results determined the cause of death to be heat-related," Long Beach police public information officer Arantxa Chavarria said in a statement. "Our K-9 vehicles are outfitted with fail-safe equipment that is meant to generate an alert. At this time, we believe this alert may not have been working."
An alert should have been sent to the officer's cell phone when the vehicle Ozzy was in, began getting too warm. A second mechanism provides a "manual button that only shuts down the system when activated by the handler."
The National Weather Service reported a high of 89 degrees in Long Beach on the day of the K-9's death. Temperatures around the time the dog died were between 81 and 84 degrees.
The department has not identified the officer involved and it's unclear where the vehicle was at the time of the dog's death or how long he had been left unattended. Since Ozzy's death, officers have been checking the cooling systems in their vehicles before they begin their shift, the department said.
California law makes it illegal to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle when temperatures could endanger the dog's health. State law allows residents to break into a vehicle to save an animal who may be in distress and is suffering.
Photo: Long Beach Police Department