K9 Ozzy

Long Beach Police Department K-9 Ozzy, pictured here, was found dead by his handler inside a department vehicle on Aug. 14 possibly from heat.

A Long Beach police K9 was found dead last week in his handler’s department vehicle, apparently from heat, authorities said.

Ozzy was found dead in the K-9 vehicle by his handler on Aug. 14 while the two were off-duty at about 3:40 p.m, it was reported this week. A preliminary exam by a veterinarian showed Ozzy’s cause of death as heat-related, police said.

The handler reported the death, prompting an investigation, including checking the vehicle’s equipment.

“Our K-9 vehicles are outfitted with fail/safe equipment that is meant to generate an alert. At this time, we believe this alert may not have been working,” Arantxa Chavarria of the Long Beach Police Department said.

“We believe this was an accident and we are taking all the necessary steps to avoid this happening in the future.”

The statement did not include any details about the equipment or how it could have prevented the death. Police officials did not respond to questions about it, or say how long the dog was in the car. Nor did they disclose the dog’s age, breed or assignment with the department.

According to weather reports, the high temperature on Aug. 14 was 88 degrees in Long Beach, although it’s unclear if the handler and K-9 were in the city when he was found dead.

The handler was not immediately identified nor was it known if he or she could face any disciplinary action.

Chavarria said all of the department’s K-9 handlers were checking their own equipment before their shifts and would continue to do so as part of their daily protocols.

“Our department is mourning Ozzy’s loss as we would with any of our employees,” Chavarria said. “Our K-9s are an indispensable part of our department, and we will continue to view them as partners.”

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