An investigation is underway after a D.C. Metropolitan Police Department dog was found dead inside a police vehicle this Monday, NBC Washington reports.
The vehicle was parked outside Northeast D.C. headquarters for the bomb squad. The dog, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois named Rocket, was confirmed to be deceased by the department. Reports say the dog was left alone inside the vehicle as temperatures reached the 80s.
From NBC Washington:
Law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation told News4 the dog was left in his handler’s marked SUV with the air conditioning running, but at some point, the air conditioner failed and the dog died inside the car.
Most recognized guidelines for first responders advise against leaving police dogs unattended in vehicles. However, a D.C. police spokesperson said there is no written policy that addresses how dogs should be kept when not on active duty.
It’s reportedly common for officers to leave police dogs alone in cars with the air conditioning running. Devices inside the vehicle alert the dog’s handler if the temperature inside the vehicle reaches unsafe levels. Some of these devices can lower a vehicle’s windows automatically.