Florida Police Mourn Dog Who Died After 'Heat Episode'

Archer was chasing a suspect on July 4, when the temperature was in the mid-90s
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2024 10:50 AM CDT
Police Dog in Florida Dies After 'Heat Episode'
Archer suffered a "heat episode" on July 4.   (Madison County Sheriff's Office)

A police dog in Florida succumbed to the heat while tracking a suspect on the Fourth of July, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. "It is with a heavy broken heart that I inform our community that K9 Archer has passed away," wrote Madison County Sheriff David Harper in a release. The 6-year-old German shepherd had been chasing a suspect who abandoned his vehicle on Interstate 10 and ran toward nearby houses when the dog suffered what the sheriff's office describes as a "heat episode." Temperatures were in the mid-90s at the time, per the Miami Herald.

After online critics questioned the wisdom of using the dog on such a hot day, Harper fired back in a separate post. "I usually don't let (Facebook) bother me but right now I am aggravated about as much as I have been in a good while," he wrote. The sheriff pointed out that the suspect was caught thanks to deputies led by the "amazing" Archer, and he asked the critics what might have happened had the suspect reached one of the nearby houses. An American Kennel Club primer on the risks of overheating in dogs notes that symptoms include "frantic panting, extreme salivation, bright-red membranes, and labored breathing." It recommends an emergency trip to the vet if the dog shows those symptoms, even if the animal cools down. (In Missouri, a police dog died when left inside a hot car.)

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