Long Beach, CA – Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) K9 Ozzy died of heat exhaustion in the back of his partner’s patrol vehicle on Aug. 14.
“Our K-9 vehicles are outfitted with fail-safe equipment that is meant to generate an alert,” LBPD Public Information Officer Arantxa Chavarria told the Los Angeles Times. “At this time, we believe this alert may not have been working.”
K9 Ozzy’s partner found him dead inside the patrol vehicle at approximately 3:40 p.m., police said.
They were both off-duty at the time.
“A veterinarian examination of Ozzy and the preliminary results determined the cause of death to be heat-related,” according to Chavarria.
Temperatures in Long Beach reached between 81 and 84 degrees that day, the Los Angeles Times reported.
K9 unit patrol vehicles are equipped with a heat-controller system that sends a signal to the officer’s cellphone if the vehicle is getting too hot, Chavarria said.
A second system provides a “manual button that only shuts down the system when activated by the handler,” she told the paper.
The department confirmed that an internal investigation into the events leading up to K9 Ozzy’s death is underway, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“This unfortunate incident was not intentional, preliminarily we believe this was an accident and we are taking all the necessary steps to avoid this happening in the future,” Chavarria told KTLA.
The six-year-old, half German shepherd and half Belgian Malinois served LBPD for over five years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
He also assisted outside agencies, such the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, throughout his career.
“We ask that you respect the handler and his family,” Chavarria told the Los Angeles Times. “Our department is mourning Ozzy’s loss as we would with any of our employees. Our K-9s are an indispensable part of our department, and we will continue to view them as partners.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Long Beach Police Department in the loss of K9 Ozzy.