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

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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

0 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

      • 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…

    • 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.

    • 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.


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