Fresno County Sheriff K-9 dies after being left in patrol car
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A sheriff's canine left in the car during training has died of heat exhaustion, and the Fresno County Sheriff says equipment failure is to blame.
"Bohden" died last week at the San Joaquin Sheriff's substation. He was left in the sweltering car about an hour before anyone realized the dog had lost conscious after the car had turned off. Manufacturers of the heat alert system say their product has never failed to work before.
Sheriff's officials say the German shepherd died after a cooling system failed and a separate alert system also failed. The sheriff says the handler is devastated his partner is gone.
For the past two and a half years, canine "Bohdan" worked alongside his handler Todd Talent at the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. But last Wednesday, "his end of watch" came unexpectedly and tragically. While Talent was inside the area one substation in San Joaquin, his dog, who was inside his patrol car - died of heat exhaustion.
"We don't know exactly when he went down inside the car," said Sheriff Margaret Mims. "A consultation with the vet told us that in 5 minutes or less with that kind of heat that animals will die as a result of that."
The company that manufactures the heat alert system says the deputy must turn on the system. The sheriff says that device is supposed to work automatically. In any case, the dog succumbed to the heat.
Action News checked the temperature in San Joaquin Wednesday, the high was 100 degrees. Inside a locked car with windows rolled up, the temperature is much higher.
Monday afternoon the car "Bo" died in was towed away from the west Fresno County substation for an inspection. The sheriff says it appears mechanical failure is to blame.
"We're already writing what we call a critical incident review of what happened," said Sheriff Margaret Mims. "It's a responsibility that we have to make sure that we look at everything that happened to make sure that it never happens again and to see if there was something that was done wrong we correct it. Right now, everything points to just a system failure."
But manufacture representatives say they have sold nearly 3,000 of the heat alert systems, and the product has never resulted in a dog being injured or killed. One of their systems was in that car. They were surprised and saddened to hear about "Bo". "As far as my feeling myself, I'm 100 percent it's a great product and we stand behind it."
Company officials say the Fresno County Sheriff's Office hasn't contacted them yet. Sheriff Mims says as a precaution, each canine car will now be inspected to ensure the cooling systems are working properly. She says Talent is devastated that's he's lost a partner and a friend.
The sheriff says Talent is a veteran canine handler. This is his second dog.
Action News did check around and the cost to purchase a new K-9 is around $8,000 and it's another $10,000 to train the dog. The sheriff says she has already received approval to get a replacement dog as soon as possible.
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