Posted on July 12, 2012 at 5:48 PM
Friday, Jul 13 at 9:24 AM
TUCSON, Ariz. -- A Department of Public Safety officer is on administrative leave after his K-9 was left in a hot patrol car for an hour.
Officer Korey Lankow faces an internal DPS investigation as well as a criminal investigation by Tucson police.
Jeg had to be euthanized Thursday afternoon because his heat-related injuries were so severe.
“This is just such a tragic thing. Not only for this officer, but the entire DPS family,” said Arizona DPS spokesman Bart Graves.
According to DPS, Lankow was switching out cars Wednesday when he was called away on an emergency collision. Lankow apparently forgot Jeg was in the first car.
“It was on the way to the other car that he realized the dog was not with him. He was in the car,” Graves said. “He turned around immediately and rescued the dog, but the dog was in really bad shape. Still alive, but in a lot of distress.”
The high in Tucson Wednesday when Jeg was trapped in the car was approximately 98 degrees.
Bretta Nelson of the Arizona Humane Society said the temperature inside the car was even hotter.
“A white car on a 90- to 95-degree day parked in the shade can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes,” Nelson said.
Lankow and his family were at Jeg’s side when he was put down. The team has been together for three years, and Lankow is said to be devastated.
“He’s very shaken up," Graves said. "This is very difficult. These officers are very close to their canines. It’s like having a human partner next to them."
DPS has launched an internal investigation to determine if Lankow followed proper procedure, as he had a duty to maintain the dog’s well-being. The Tucson Police Department is beginning a separate criminal investigation, but a spokesperson for the department said it is too early to say what charges Lankow might face.