Don’t Police K-9 Handlers Receive any Training????

k-9This is the second time recently that I’ve seen articles telling about police K-9 handlers leaving their dogs in a car in extreme heat, causing the death of the dogs.  The most recent one was a handler in Nottinghamshire, England, who left two dogs to die in his personal car on the hottest day of the year, when temperatures reached 85 degrees.  He may be prosecuted under Britain’s animal cruelty laws.  This brings to mind a couple of questions.

First of all, isn’t it just common sense not to leave your dog in a car?  Think about how hot it is when you get into your parked car after leaving the mall or at the end of your work day.  Does anyone really think an animal could stand this temperature for very long?  According to the article in the London Daily Mail, the interior temperature of this car was 116 degrees.

Secondly, even if this particular officer didn’t have any common sense, shouldn’t he have been trained to protect his dogs from the heat inside of a car?

Finally, why would a police department have the officer transport the dogs in his personal vehicle?  At least in the US, K-9 patrol cars are generally outfitted with many special features to protect the dogs.  They have air conditioning in the back seat, along with fans that kick on if the air quits.  In addition, they have fail-safe procedures that roll down the windows and page the handler if the car’s interior reaches a certain temperature or if the air circulation stops.

England is a pretty progressive country – I can’t believe their vehicles wouldn’t be equipped with this type of equipment as well.  It seems to me that if the dogs are to be transported to and from work, they should be taken in the specially-equipped cars rather than private vehicles.

Does anyone know any more of the details on this?  Are the K-9 cars built differently?  Are handlers required to transport their dogs in their personal vehicles?

Such a waste!

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!

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8 thoughts on “Don’t Police K-9 Handlers Receive any Training????”

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  2. These are tragic stories for the dogs and the humans. There have been two of these cases in Phoenix Arizona. Of course, we have had many more children die the same way. Unfortunately, people are only human…if dogs were in charge this would never happen.

    I believe that Phoenix’s K-9 units now have heat alarms.

  3. I am a retired police K9 officer / instructor of some 25 years experience. I can only comment on the UK incident, and even then with limited knowledge of the full facts which are still under investigation, however I can answer some of the questsions raised.

    here in the UK it is usual procedure for most K9 officers to transport their dogs to and from their place of duty in a privatly owned motor vehicle. The police vehicles used to transport the dogs while on duty are equiped with ventilation / extraction systems, however the private motor vehicles are not – they are just an ordinary family car (Estate car or Station Wagon usually). The majority of police K9 units are run on a relativly low budget compared to many of the other specialist units, and in any police force / department where there are a large number of dogs, the police vehicle will be handed over from one shift to another.

    In the recent case in the UK it appears that the officer was in fact on his day off and took time out to visit his K9 units headquarters. Without knowing the full facts it would be wrong to speculate on why it happened however, he obviously wanted to have his dogs with him (on his day off), as he could quite easily have left them in the compound provided by the police at his home address. This tends to indicate that he had a good bond with the dogs & enjoyed their company.

    As police dog handlers, a part of the training includes various aspects of animal husbandry, including care & welfare of the dogs. The dangers of leaving dogs in hot vehicles is something that would almost certainly be included in all training courses. In fact, it is not unusual for the K9 officerto be called to deal with just such incidents.

    I suspect that in this case the officer did not leave the dogs in the car without ventilation as an act of deliberate carlessness, it is most likely that he left the vehicle with the intention of only being away from the vehicle for a very short time and that at the point when he did leave the dogs, the temperature was low. For some reason he became involved in something that either took his mind off the dogs / vehicle & took much longer than he anticipated. Whatever the reason, the tragedy is that the dogs suffered a terrible death.

    The officer now has to live with this for the remainder of their life. I am not making excuses for him / her simply offering my opinion & trying to rationalise what may have gone wrong.

    The bottom line is that as a professional dog handler, you are accountable for your actions & should set a standard that the general public follows. This handler will be held accountable of that I am sure, but I honestly don’t think that they should be reviled as some kind of monster. We are all capable of making mistakes, quite often we are lucky and the consequences are limited. In this case the consequences are horrific and the handler has been & will be made to pay dearly.

    I am saddened by the death of two wonderful animals, I am saddened that the generally high standard of the police K9 handler has been tainted, but I am also saddened that someone who chose to make working with dogs a major part of their life has to live with such a terrible thing on their conscience for the rest of their life.

    there is a debate in the public section of my website where there are a number of police K9 officers worldwide. Posts will be moderated (to stop spam) & will not show up until they have been viewed, however all posts that are constructive will be allowed to be viewed without being censored.

  4. Yes, we are trained and I personally, would have never left my Police Dog unattended like this. If I was busy with a prisoner or anything requiring I not have the dog with me, he would go visit with our dispatch center and wait for my return. On the occasions I HAD to leave him in the car, it was equipped with a heat alarm that set off the lights & siren if it got within 10 degrees of “too hot”.

    This accident is a terrible reflection on Police K-9 Handlers all over the globe. A preventable one. It is a crying shame.


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