The Mercer County, Ohio Sheriff’s office is grieving a tragedy and mounting an investigation after one of their police canines passed away.
Zak, a sable German Shepard, was found dead inside of hot patrol car. Zak’s handler, Deputy Chad Fortkamp, discovered the dog around 1pm in the afternoon on Wednesday of this week. The Sheriff’s Office released the news on Thursday
Deputy Fortkamp had been in his office working on a report when Zak was left inside the patrol car. This is not regular protocol. When officers are at the sheriff’s office, dogs are to be inside the building alongside their handler or in the car with the air conditioner running.
The initial investigation found that Zak was left inside the car, without it running. As a result, Zak passed away from heat related issues due to the extreme heat inside the car.
A thorough investigation is currently being conducted. Mercer County Sheriff, Jeff Grey, stated, “I am deeply disappointed and apologize to the members of the Moose Lodge, the Eagles of Celina and others who helped fund the K-9 program. In 2010, the Moose Lodge donated $5000 and the Eagles donated $1500 for the purchase of Zak after K-9 Bleck died of an intestinal obstruction. It is my intent to get answers as to what happened.”
Zak joined the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department in 2010. Sheriff Grey noted the bond between the Deputy and the dog saying, “Deputy Fortkamp loved that dog almost like it was his child.” Fortkamp may face disciplinary action once the investigation has been completed. Results of the investigation are expected to be released at a press conference on Monday.
The sheriff’s office is planning on suspending the K-9 program after having lost the two canines in the past three years.