Officer Craig Curry left his K9 partner Ike inside a patrol car with the engine on while he went inside the police headquarters building for a meeting in June of 2020.
He left his automobile at 3 p.m. and returned at 4.40 p.m. to find the engine had turned off during the 108 F heat. Maricopa police policy states K9s must be checked on no less than every 30 minutes.
The canine was in a kennel at the back of the car panting heavily and suffering from heatstroke. Other officers tried to assist Curry to cool down the dog down and transported Ike to a vet for treatment.
The dog was euthanized the next day as a result of complications brought on by heatstroke.
A report into the incident said Curry could’ve parked in a shaded area, repeatedly checked on the animal, or brought the dog into the meeting.
An investigation into the incident discovered that Curry had a heat alarm gadget to alert him if the car was getting too hot for his K9 partner. However, the alarm was left inside the vehicle because Curry was trying out a body digital camera that took up space on his vest.
In 2016, a memo written by another officer stated the alarm system was “useless” and “rarely works correctly or at all,” which had led many to abandon the devices. Maricopa police discovered that Curry had not noticed missing antennas and loose connections on the K9 heat alarm.
Requests for money to improve the alarm systems had been authorized by the department but did not come to fruition.
Officer Curry was given 20 hours of unpaid leave from his department for a number of code violations. He got off light with a slap on the wrist. If this was an ordinary American being held accountable for the death of a police dog, they’d be charged with murdering a law enforcement officer and would face severe punishment.
Cars can rapidly reach excessive temperatures that make animals vulnerable to serious illness and death, even when the windows are cracked.
Research has confirmed that the inside temperature of vehicles parked in outdoor temperatures starting from 72 to 96 F rose steadily as time went by. Another study, by the Louisiana Office of Public Health, discovered that the temperatures on a hot but cloudy day exceeded 125 F within just 20 minutes.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.