The Main Stream

Jul 13, 2012 1:31 AM

DPS K-9 put down after being left in hot car

TUCSON - A Department of Public Safety K-9 who was left in a very hot car on Wednesday at DPS Headquarters has died.

"Jeg" spent more than an hour locked in his cruiser after his handler Officer Korey Lankow transferred vehicles and left him behind.

Tucson firefighters rushed the 7-year-old Belgian Malinois to an emergency vet, but Thursday the dog's condition crashed and he was put down.

The K-9 fought for his life at Southern Arizona Vet Center through ups and downs. DPS said he got better, then worse, then better, but eventually had to be put down.

David Hopkins is an officer with the Department of Public Safety. He said, "The specialists came in and took a look at Jeg and the internal injuries were just too great and he was not going to come out of it. Instead of letting him suffer they decided to euthanize him."

It was a major loss for DPS because they said he wasn't just a dog; he was also an officer.

Perhaps no one was affected more than his handler, Officer Korey Lankow, who stayed by the dog's side in the vet the entire time.

Hopkins said, "He is greatly distraught. The bond between handler and dog is pretty good. It's very good. He's taking it very tough, the whole family is."

As upset as the officer may be, losing his partner may be just the beginning. A major mistake was made and two investigations have been launched because of it.

DPS has an internal investigation to figure out what happened and if any punishments or terminations are needed.

There is also a criminal investigation that will be led by Tucson Police to determine if an arrest is needed, possibly for animal cruelty.

Neither of those investigations are complete yet. In the meantime, Lankow is currently on administrative leave.

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