As summer arrives, pet owners are being reminded to not leave dogs in cars. Doing so can result in the animal dying of heat exhaustion.
It's a costly lesson that was learned by a police officer who left his dog in a patrol car on a hot day in Alabama.
The three-year-old dog named Mason was left inside an officer's car on Thursday, June 18, while he was attending a hurricane preparation conference in the town of Gulf Shores.
Mason's handler Corporal Josh Coleman forgot that Mason was still in the back seat of his patrol car. On realising Mason was absent, Coleman then located him in the vehicle.
Mason was immediately transported to a veterinarian for care. He was then transported to an advanced animal care facility in Pensacola where treatment seemed to improve his condition. But he died on Friday, June 19 of heat-related causes.
Mason was a 'community engagement officer', not an enforcement K9. Enforcement K-9's spend a good deal of time in their handler's vehicles, so those vehicles are equipped with remote heat alarms, water bowls and other protective measures.
Because Mason's duties did not include long periods in a vehicle, those protective measures were not available in his handler's car.
The police department consulted with the Baldwin County District Attorney's Office and Corporal Coleman will not face criminal charges.
He does face 'sanctions' with the police department and city. The police department had just celebrated the dog's birthday.