A South Carolina police officer was placed on administrative leave this week after his K-9 partner dog died when left inside a sweltering car.
The officer reportedly left Tank, a black Labrador retriever, in a car with the engine turned off and the windows rolled up Monday when he stopped by the department to do some work. The officer later said he didn't think he would be that long, Bennettsville Police Chief Larry McNeil told CarolinaLive.com.
Upon returning to the car, the officer realized Tank wasn’t doing well and rushed him to the veterinarian. The dog died the next day.
Police said the officer's name isn't being released.
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"[This is] difficult and heart-wrenching in a sense because it's never expected. This untimely death of Tank is one that's going to stay with the department. He won't be forgotten," McNeil said in a eulogy for the fallen K-9 officer.
"I don't think people realize how much and how it's going to affect his partner. And how it's going to affect that family because when you're with someone for 365 days a year 24 hours a day, just about every day, it has an impact on your life after. And we realize that with Tank's partner I don't think anybody would be more hurt right now than he and his family," he said.
The officer, who is reportedly overwhelmed with grief, was placed on leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
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"They love these animals. They take them with them all the time," former Bennettsville Mayor Lucy Mills Parsons told CarolinaLive.com of K-9 officers. "And it's just a very sad thing. And accidents happen with people and animals."
Tank was 4 years old and had worked with the Bennettsville police for three years in explosives detection.
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