Police dog in San Joaquin Valley city dies in hot car after AC fails

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The dog's handler found the Belgian Malinois dead in his patrol car on June 20th. (KFSN)

A police dog in a San Joaquin Valley city died after it was left in a running patrol car for 90 minutes while its officer worked inside his home and the vehicle's engine shut off.

Porterville police said the officer put the Belgian Malinois named Idol in the vehicle with the air conditioning running on June 20, so the K-9 could cool down while he worked inside his home.

When the officer came back an hour and a half later, he noticed the engine had shut off and he found Idol dead inside.

Police said the car's warning system did not activate because the engine had died.

According to AccuWeather, temperatures in the Porterville area reached a high of 99 degrees that day.

The department's chief said four-year-old Idol was a good police dog and it's been very difficult for his handler.

"In his terms, it's like losing a kid," said Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil.

"They've been together for two years. This officer is one of our top officers, he's SWAT, he was our officer of the year last year for the department. He's a stellar officer, he pays attention to all the details. It's just a tragedy."

The Tulare County Sheriff's Office investigated and wasn't able to determine what caused the engine to shut off.

Porterville police said they've inspected other K-9 vehicles, and they all check out.

The department is getting a new warning system for all K-9 vehicles, which includes a pager device to notify officers when it's too hot in the car.

The Tulare County District Attorney's Office reviewed the Sheriff's report and determined Idol's handler will not face any criminal charges.

Porterville is located about an hour north of Bakersfield.
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