Woodstock police dog dies of heatstroke
by Michelle Babcock
June 19, 2013 11:15 PM | 5942 views | 15 15 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Woodstock Police Officer trains with his dog Spartacus. (STAFF/SAMANTHA M. SHAL)
A Woodstock Police Officer trains with his dog Spartacus. (STAFF/SAMANTHA M. SHAL)
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A Woodstock police officer is on paid leave and an investigation is under way into the death of a 3-year-old police dog that died from heatstroke in his handler’s patrol car Monday night, police say.

Woodstock Police Officer Chad Berry is on paid administrative leave until the completion of an internal investigation into the death of his police dog, Spartacus, who was found dead by Berry at his residence in Jasper on Monday at about 9 p.m., according to police reports.

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office went to Berry’s house in Jasper when they received a report of the dog’s death from the owner, and are conducting their own investigation into the incident, a spokesman for the sheriff said.

Pickens Sheriff’s spokesperson Kris Stancil said that it’s possible the police dog was in Berry’s patrol car for about six hours from 3 to 9 p.m.

Stancil said there could be charges made against the officer for animal cruelty if investigators determine there was intentional neglect or cruelty involved, but said it’s too early in the investigation to know.

Woodstock Police said a memorial service will be announced for Spartacus in the future, and said the handler is “devastated by the loss.”

“We are committed to the care and proper treatment of our working K-9s,” said Woodstock Police spokesperson Brittany Duncan. “We are mourning the loss of one of our own.”

Berry has handled police dogs for nine years, and his first police dog, who is retired, now lives with his family. Spartacus was a Belgian Malinois and worked in narcotics detection, tracking and apprehension.

The investigation is expected to be wrapped up later this week, Stancil said.

The Woodstock Police K-9 Team Program policies regarding handler responsibilities say that “the assigned canine handler is responsible for the direct supervision, use and care of the animal” and “when animal rest periods should be taken.”

In eight pages of police dog policies, nowhere was the topic of leaving a police dog in a patrol vehicle mentioned.

Policy did note that the handler is personally responsible for the daily care of the animal, provision of food and water and general medical attention, and handlers must “demonstrate acquired abilities and necessary proficiency” as part of their initial K-9 training.

 

Comments
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anonymous
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June 25, 2013
MDJ, please read what you wrote and DO SOMETHING: "Pickens Sheriff’s spokesperson Kris Stancil said that it’s possible the police dog was in Berry’s patrol car for about six hours from 3 to 9 p.m. Stancil said there could be charges made against the officer for animal cruelty if investigators determine there was intentional neglect or cruelty involved, but said it’s too early in the investigation to know."

How is it TOO EARLY to know? Duh. INTENTIONAL NEGLECT IS VERY CLEAR TO ME. And is this being shoved under the rug?
xga
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June 20, 2013
What a terrible tragedy. However, we should all withhold judgement until all the details come out. I certainly can't fathom leaving a dog in the car, but we are all human (even police officers), and humans make mistakes...sometimes huge ones. As he has stated, i'm sure he is devastated. Let us not forget that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for you and I on a daily basis. A 12 year veteran such as himself has no doubt affected many lives in a positive way over the course of his career, and we never see these stories in the news. Let the investigation run its course before rushing to judgement. Yes, it's a terrible thing that's happened, no doubt. I'm sure this officer is hurting pretty bad over this...my thoughts and prayers go out to all involved.
anonymous
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June 25, 2013
What more details do you think the public will hear? None is my guess. After all, it is JUST A DOG. Read about the one that was trapped for THREE DAYS in a car while an officer was on vacation and clawed the windows, the seat belts, etc. I cry just writing this. Oh, well, it was JUST A DOG.

Col Jessup
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June 20, 2013
"In eight pages of police dog policies, nowhere was the topic of leaving a police dog in a patrol vehicle mentioned."

They don't tell you where the mess hall is at the Guantanamo Marine base either...

sgt.d
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June 20, 2013
6 hours how can that be accident he better be charged but this is georgia and it seesm the police are above the law
animal lover
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June 20, 2013
This is truly disgusting. The officer should be demoted and fined. He should never ever be allowed again to be part of a K9 unit. Poor dog really suffered.
anonymous
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June 19, 2013
I am a huge, huge animal lover and I told myself not to read this. Unfortunately, I also clicked on a link to a police dog named Sasha that died a few years ago while trapped in a car for three days. No, I didn't make a typo. Trapped in a car for three days before the police officer that owned the dog found her. I most certainly hope we never read about another police dog dying while trapped in a car. I cannot imagine in a million years that I would leave a dog in a car. That to me is just the same as leaving a child in a car. Both are absolutely helpless. I hope this person never owns an animal again and I hope this dog haunts his dreams for years to come as it will surely haunt mine.
bamareb
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June 19, 2013
If you or I were to leave a dawg locked up inside a hot car and it died from a heat stroke as this Police dawg did, we would be arrested on the spot for its death. If you or I killed a Police Dawg we would also be arrested on the spot for murdering a Police Dawg. However let a cop murder a police dawg and he gets a paid vacation I mean paid leave. Must be nice to be above the law and to get away with killing a police dawg and get paid for doing it instead of being arrested and charged with murder of a police dawg. Georgia State Law 16-11-107 Destroying or causing serious or debilitating physical injury to police dog or police horse (b)Any person who knowingly and intentionally destroys or causes serious or debilitating physical injury to a police dog or police horse, knowing said dog to be a police dog or said horse to be a police horse, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, or both. Yet being a cop he still has his job and is receiving pay while on leave.
Witchataw
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June 19, 2013
This is a really sad situation. I really feel bad for all involved.
Law abiding citizen
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July 06, 2013
You feel bad for ALL involved? Ok, feel horrible for the helpless pooch trapped and suffocating in the car.. but the cop? Really???! I've had family issues to run home to and resolve. Had numerous occasions where life just seems to get in the way of responsibilities... but NEVER would I leave my dog trapped in a friggin car in 95 degree heat for hrs and hrs! Or a child, elderly person, handicapped, mentally ill or completely incompetent being. It's negligent and MURDER!!! If you or I were to so much as hit a K-9 cop, not causing any real harm to the animal, we would still get charged with a felony. As a civilian, you would still get charged with negligence for suffocating your civilian dog in the car. This a-hole is getting a free vaca on our dime for murdering his dog! Keep feeling bad for him... Guess it doesn't affect your ignorant butt
IceDogg
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June 19, 2013
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. When a civilian does the same thing, they are charged with felony animal cruelty. And isn't the K9 considered a police officer? That should be even worse than neglectfully killing a "civilian dog". We'll see how the police treat (or give special treatment to) their own.

I have my suspicions that this is the last we'll hear of this though. They'll just sweep it under the carpet.
A Taxpayer
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June 19, 2013
The guy who killed this dog was a 9-year veteran of the police force?? Release the name of that idiot !! What a negligent fool
Just Wait
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June 19, 2013
I certainly hope this was a tragic accident. If not, the officer should be prosecuted. Things like this just should not happen.
R.Petersen
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June 25, 2013
For those of you that have a family, there was a family emergency at the time, and the officer had rushed home for this, and this is how the dog got left in the car. This is an officer that has a perfect record as an officer. To him, this is the same as losing a family member, and the dog is a family member. If you have never made a mistake, then you can throw stones at this officer, if you have, then you have no room to judge this officer!
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