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Malfunctions Blamed In Heat Death Of Camden Police Dog

Officials are blaming malfunctions in a patrol car in the heat death of a Camden police dog.

Serge (WPVI TV)

The car’s air conditioning wasn’t working properly and an alarm should have alerted Camden Patrolman Gabriel Rodriguez that the vehicle was overheating with K-9 Serge inside.

The system also should have turned on a fan and lowered the windows when the temperature reached 85 degrees. None of that happened.

The dog was left in the car for two hours as the temperature inside the vehicle rose to deadly levels on Thursday.

The German shepherd had joined the police force in May.

Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson tells Courier-Post an independent mechanic will examine the system.

Thomson said all squad cars, including the K-9 vehicles, are required to be inspected before each tour of duty by the officer.

While noting that the dog’s death has an effect on the whole department and community at large, Thomson assured that no one is feeling the pain more than the officer himself.

“There is an inseparable bond that is created between the K-9 and its handler,” Thomson said. “There is nobody that is more devastated than Officer Rodriguez and his family. These dogs go home with them and become part of the officer’s family as well.”

Serge and Rodriguez were part of the 38th class of the Atlantic County Police Training Center, which graduated in May following 16 weeks of training.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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