TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) -- The Vigo County Sheriff Department's only drug-sniffing dog died after it was locked inside a deputy's vehicle when the air conditioning malfunctioned, police said.
The 5-year-old dog's handler, Deputy Charlie Funk, was devastated by the dog's death, Chief Deputy Jake Compton said. "He lost his partner and best friend."
The Sheriff's Department investigated and determined the dog's death was an accident and no disciplinary action was warranted, Compton said.
A mechanic inspected the vehicle and found that a tiny hole caused coolant to leak out of its air conditioner. The air conditioner continued to blow, but the air was not cooled.
Funk left the dog in the vehicle for nearly three hours on Tuesday while he accompanied a combative man to the Region Hospital emergency room, Compton said.
Funk left his vehicle running with the windows up, returning to find the dog unresponsive.
The deputy took the dog to a veterinarian, who said it likely died from heat exhaustion.
Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com