Police K-9 Dead After Deputy Leaves Dog in Hot Patrol Car

An investigation is currently underway after police k-9, Zak, was left unattended in a patrol car.

The Mercer County Sheriff's Office is mourning the loss of their canine, Zak, seen above.

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.

K-9 officer left in patrol car dies in heat

830 thoughts on “Police K-9 Dead After Deputy Leaves Dog in Hot Patrol Car

  1. How does it cost THAT much for one dog? I’d think the police force can return the favor to the city and take-in rescue dogs and train them at very little cost, and save both human and dog lives.

    1. Squirrel, the reason these dogs cost so much is because they must have the temperament and ability for the stressful work involved, which requires incredible nerves. You can’t just pick a dog from a shelter and place him or her in police work and hope it works out. These German Shepherds (and a few select other breeds) are bred for work. 90% of dogs that are the typical pets do not hold the temperament, or abilities. I hope that answers your question.

    2. Squirrel, you obviously don’t much about what it takes to train a police dog. Actually, they DO visit shelters and adopt those that show good potential. The cost is in the training.
      I believe this Deputy deserves the same penalty that they give to criminals who killa police dog. They say he loved Zak almost like a child…hope he never does the same thing to a child!

      1. I agree! If it was anyone else,that individual would surely do some hard time. Just because he is an officer of the law, he will be slapped on the hand,still receive pay during his “leave” n still have his job!! Not Right…

    3. As others have pointed out, working dogs are very different from normal pets. To work in such a capacity requires years of training, and a very particular temperament. Rescue dogs are occasionally found that have good potential (one of the most successful Customs K-9s was a rescued Pitbull). However, the majority of the time a breeder might be used since that reduces the time/money spent screening dogs. Some kennels specialize in breeding working dogs, and focus on breeding the required temperament and beginning the dog’s training from as early as possible.

      Once a potential is found, a working dog usually requires at least one to two years of specialized training. K-9s and military dogs, in particular, have extremely demanding and complicated duties — just as not every person could become an Olympian, not every dog is capable of becoming a K-9. They have to have nerves of steel, learn to tolerate the sound of gunshots and shouting, and must be completely and utterly reliable. They are trained to track, chase, and apprehend criminals, attacking without maiming or killing in the process. They have to be trained to restrain a person, to hold without mauling them and to immediately release upon command. They must be able to operate with special equipment such as kevlar vests or gas masks, and must be able to deal with unusual environments or situations without hesitation. Their training is super-specialized, constant, and ongoing….so as a direct result, expensive.

    1. Now THERE’S a thought! Anyone else, any normal citizen would have been charged with animal cruelty resulting in death….AS SHOULD BE!.

  2. Not just any dog can be a canine officer and it requires a lot of very in-depth training, which is why a trained canine police officer is so expensive. The officer should find himself facing what any other person would be facing and that’s abuse charges. He can not claim lack of knowledge on what was going to happen to that poor dog, who had probably saved his butt a time or two 🙁

  3. It costs way more than that to get a police dog. They typically come in from their home country and are trained for police work from the time they open their eyes.

    You could train a rescue for search and rescue or drug sniffing but I dont think it would be appropriate to train one for dealing with suspects. If your city has a citizens police academy I highly recommend going through it. If not do some research online about police k-9s. The amount of time that goes into training is at a huge cost.

  4. wow, they want to suspend the program after losing 2 dogs, they only lost ONE dog the stupid cop killed the other one and should be hanged for that.

  5. The K-9 unit doesn’t need to be dismantled. The cops who are this stupid and inhumane do. Put officers in the K-9 unit who love dogs.

  6. I don’t understand how ANYONE could forget about a dog or a child in a hot car. That is the 1st thing I think about is my babies when I walk into my house. People need to get their heads out of their behind and “think.”
    Poor dog suffered so much…..it makes me ill.

  7. An investigation? What a crock! They’re just saying that to appease the public. He was in the bldg filling out paperwork, not running from the car in an emergency situation to catch criminals.

    What sort “investigation” is really necessary other than asking the officer what happened.

    He left the dog in a hot car. The dog died. Case closed! He’ll get a slap on the wrist. And hopefully the program does get dismantled if that’s the way those dogs are treated…completely undervalued. They deserve much better for what they do.

      1. Bleck ingested a foreign object that perforated his internal organs beyond the point of saving and Zak died from heat; both of which seem to suggest neglect by the handler. I doubt the third dog is going to be a charm when this same handler is involved.

    1. Holy crap….you are right. He did have the dog that had to be euthenized several years ago because he had ingested something and it was discovered so late that too much damage had been done….WOW Sorry that is beyond highly suspicious….Like a nurse that keeps “losing” patients. Sounds like he should be on the list of people who NEVER have another dog. even on this one event HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE?

  8. how does this keep happening? I live in texas and EVERY SUMMER the news is flooded with reports of dead pets and children that are left in cars…. when will people learn?? this is such a senseless death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I am just disgusted!…I work for a sheriff’s office who has a K9 program and our deputies love, respect and depend on these K9s. I cannot fathom what the Hell this deputy was thinking by leaving his K9 PARTNER in his patrol car (without a/c) with the heatwave this country has been experiencing lately! This man should be FIRED. There just isn’t any good enough excuse that could be given to explain this kind of neglect. And to suspend the program is uncalled for, how about retaining the program and training your deputies on what it feels like to be left in a hot car, kind of like pepper spray training! Seriously people get you crap together! And whats worse this kind of thing just doesn’t happen to beloved pets and now K9 officers but, people leave their kids in hot cars..WTF?!

  10. Just fire his Dumb Ass! I am so sick of these negligent people and there are no consequences for their actions!

    1. Hey anonymous ! He is most definitely going to have to live with being a dumb ass for a long time. But !!! >>> that Sheriff’s office has an extremely perfect opportunity to stand up for all of us and stand firmly and harshly against the LE departments in this country !!! Sheriff Grey noted the bond between the Deputy and the dog saying, “Deputy Fortkamp loved that dog almost like it was his child.” That is all just what is known regarding a mans treatment towards animals, they are a window into our souls and an indicator of the health of our souls. Bye Zak, sorry I will never be able to follow your adventures as you go through your career, TOO damn young to die !!! Shedding tears I gotta go !!

  11. This amazing dog would of sacrificed it’s life/safety in the line of duty, such a travesty that instead his handler negated basic common sense at the cost of his life, as far as I’m concerned he killed a fellow officer.

  12. IMHO, the handler should be, at the very least, out of the K9 program. This is unconscionable behavior. How about we put the handler in a closed vehicle for a few hours.

    1. Out of the K9 Program?!?!? Are you JOKING?? He should be put in jail for killing a Police Officer. That is what would happen to any one of US. What happened to the days when the Police were held to a “higher standard”, and were there to SERVE the Community??? This is another power-hungry puppet who will get away with what ANY of us would get thrown in jail for!
      We need to DEMAND that he be arrested and tried for Negligence, Animal Abuse, Animal Cruelty, Assault on a Police Officer, Negligent Homicide of a Police Officer, and anything else that covers it…JUST AS WE WOULD!

    1. What is going on is simple…The “Union” Police are ABOVE THE LAW. They do whatever they want, with ZERO consequences. They are protected thugs who are on a power trip 90% of the time.
      Why is it YOU cannot spank your own child (Child Abuse and CPS will take your children away) yet a COP, who has ZERO interest in the safety of YOUR child can BEAT them into a coma and just SAY the words “resisting arrest”, and it suddenly becomes your CHILD’S fault???
      Wake up people! Until you start TAKING YOUR COUNTRY BACK, this kind of thinking WILL continue. DEMAND that your Police be held to a higher standard. DEMAND that your Police Officers SERVE the Community.
      If you are not willing to stop it; quit whining about it happening.

  13. This is the SECOND time I’ve heard of this happening. WTF are they thinking, or do they have anything to think with/

    1. Yeah, it just…..ugh.

      The other incident I heard about at least made a bit more sense than simply “forgot the dog in the car all day lol”. An officer was switching vehicles and got a priority emergency call before he had loaded the dog into the vehicle. He rushed off to respond, and turned around as soon as he realized the dog was still in his other patrol car. He made it back before the dog had died and rushed it to an emergency vet, but the dog passed away the next day.

      This? This just seems like a complete moron that needs to make kicked off the force and charged for his negligence.

  14. INSANE! How can they claim to serve and protect if they can’t even serve and protect their partners??? Disgusting.

  15. That just sickens me… As law enforcement, I can’t believe an officer leaving not only his dog but his partner to die like that. What a disgrace….

  16. seriously?? wouldn’t you think a damn deputy would know better how to treat his defenseless partner?? inexcusable

  17. Same thing happened in Tucson this summer, the officer supposedly switched vehicles and forgot his partner in the switch

  18. The officer should be fired and held responsible for killing a LEO just as any other criminal would be.

  19. Officer should serve time in jail and not be an officer anymore! Here is AZ people go to jail for that kind of stuff. Makes me sick that this amazing dog was tragically lost because he was left in the car!!! And while his partner was inside!!!!

  20. Wow. And he was a K9 officer. This makes me so angry, and my heart hurt all at he same time. What is wrong with people…

  21. well isnt if a k-9 gets killed by a criminal they r charged with killing a police officer ?? if so that is what that deputy should be charged with…

  22. I live in Ohio not far from where this happened. And yes of all people, he should have known better. They don’t need to suspend the program as it does a lot of good. Just fire the dumbass officer and charge him with animal cruelty just as any civilian who did this would be!!!! I’m ashamed!!!!

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