Protections for Police Dog in Patrol Car Fail—Fatally

Houston police say air-conditioned vehicle shut off without warning, killing K9 Aron
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2023 11:28 AM CDT
Protections for Police Dog in Patrol Car Fail—Fatally
Houston Police Department vehicles are seen parked at the scene of a shooting on Nov. 1.   (Annie Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

A police dog in Texas died in a "tragic accident" Monday as the air-conditioned patrol car the 4-year-old was housed in unexpectedly lost power. The handler of the Houston Police Department dog named Aron had left him in a "running, air-conditioned patrol vehicle, which is a necessary and common practice when the K-9 partner is not actively engaged in police work," according to a statement from the Houston Police Department, per ABC News. It added that all department vehicles are "equipped with a system that notifies the handler, sounds the horn, activates cooling fans, and rolls down the car windows, if for some reason the vehicle shuts down." But "this did not happen in this instance."

"When Aron's police handler returned to the vehicle, it was discovered that the engine had shut off and Aron was in distress," police said. According to CNN, temperatures in Houston hit 95 degrees on Monday, meaning the temperature inside the patrol vehicle could've topped 109 degrees in 10 minutes. The dog was taken to an emergency veterinarian clinic but died of heat exhaustion. "Please keep Aron's handler and the entire K-9 team in your prayers as they mourn the loss of Aron," who served with the department for 18 months, police said. They added that investigators were working to determine why the patrol vehicle malfunctioned to keep it from happening again. The department also said all vehicles used to transport police dogs would be inspected before being used. (Read more police dog stories.)

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