California police dog found dead in hot patrol car, officials say

5 Ways to Avoid Hot Car Deaths

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Investigators in California are searching for answers after a police dog was reportedly found dead inside a hot car.

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In a Friday news release, the Long Beach Police Department said the handler of K-9 Officer Ozzy found the dog dead inside a "department-issued K-9 vehicle" about 3:45 p.m. Aug. 14, when both were off-duty.

A veterinarian said Ozzy's death likely was heat-related, according to the release.

Although the department said its "K-9 vehicles are outfitted with fail/safe equipment that is meant to generate an alert," authorities believe the feature may have malfunctioned. Police are reviewing "all the equipment, our protocols and circumstances of the accident," the release said.

Long Beach police added that K-9 handlers are now double-checking their vehicles' heat-control equipment whenever they begin a new shift.

"This unfortunate incident was not intentional," the department said. "Primarily, we believe this was an accident, and we are taking all the necessary steps to avoid this from happening in the future."