Two Nottinghamshire Police dogs have died after being left in a car as temperatures reached 29°C.
The dogs were found dead in a police car parked outside the force headquarters yesterday afternoon (July 1).
The police force has referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Royal Society of Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is believed to be investigating the incident.
A statement from Nottinghamshire Police said the welfare of its animals was "of paramount importance".
It said: "We endeavour to take every measure possible to ensure their well-being and safety."
Nottinghamshire Police said the handler has not been suspended, he is believed to have been off-duty at the time.
Police dogs take nine weeks of intensive training before they can go on patrol at a cost of more than £7,000.
Chair of the Police Authority, John Clarke, said: “This is a truly tragic incident. I am deeply disturbed to learn of the deaths of these police dogs, which play such a vital role in the fight against crime. The RSPCA has been informed and will, I am sure, carry out a thorough and speedy investigation.
“The Authority has asked to be provided at the appropriate time with a full report into the circumstances.
“In the meantime we are requiring a guarantee from the Force that measures are being put in place immediately to ensure that an incident like this can never happen again.”
The Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, said it was "saddened" by the news.
A spokeswoman said: "Whilst the cause of death is still to be determined, the charity would like to remind dog owners and police dog handlers that leaving your dog locked in a car can prove fatal, particularly during a heatwave.
"It can take just 20 minutes for a dog to die and temperatures reach over 40 degrees in some vehicles."
An RSPCA spokesman said: "It was reported to us yesterday by Nottinghamshire Police. We are investigating and they are co-operating with us.”Comments on this article:
July 7, 2009 - 15:35This is absolutely appalling, I hope there will be some action taken. I cannot understand anybody doing something like this, we put our faith into the police force but when you hear things like this. Just because he is a Police Officer he shouldn’t be let off!!
I am writing to say how deeply saddened I was to hear about the horrific death of the two German Shepherd dogs recently. The person responsible should pay heavily for this cruelty,preferably with the loss of his or her job and this person should receive no pension and also serve time in prison. There was absolutely no excuse for this to have happened and no mitigating circumstances in my view. The dogs would have suffered dreadfully and endured an agonising death . Police officers are supposed to set an example and have failed miserably. Words cannot adequately express how I feel about this, poor dogs.
July 3, 2009 - 20:19
I own a German Shepherd and I know how hard it is to keep them cool during hot days , they need constant cold water and shade . I just cant believe a police dog handler would leave his dogs in his car in that heat and walk away? He should face punishment like everyone else would; sacked or demoted, prosecuted and banned from keeping pets. Thats what I'd expect if I left my pet in a hot car.
July 2, 2009 - 14:55
I am writing to say what an appalling incident to happen, this is not acceptable for the police to make this so called "truly tragic incident", and the fact the handler has not been suspended, as he is believed to have been off-duty at the time is an absolute disgrace.
I hope this matter is looked into very closely and someone is made accountable for their actions.
This is very sad & I feel completely let down by the police.
July 2, 2009 - 14:14
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