A Georgia K-9 died after being left in a hot car for 10 hours, and now calls are growing for the officer responsible to face animal cruelty charges.
The dog, a bloodhound named Zane, was found dead inside his handler's patrol car on Thursday evening. The Conyers Police Department released a statement on Facebook about the K-9's death, noting that the officer responsible was placed on paid leave during an investigation.
"Zane, a five year old bloodhound, has worked as a tracking dog for Conyers Police Department for four years, three of those with his current handler.
"Zane's handler, Jerahmy Williams, has been with the police department nearly five years and is a patrol Corporal. Williams is currently on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
"Rockdale County Sheriff's Office responded to Corporal Williams' residence last night and is currently conducting a separate investigation with the assistance of the Rockdale County District Attorney's Office.
"We are committed to the care and proper treatment of our working K9s. We are mourning the loss of our own."
The tragedy could have been avoided, reports indicated. The patrol car is equipped with an alarm to alert when the temperature rises too high, but it is only activated when the ignition is turned on.
Police have said that Williams is remorseful for the K-9's death.
"[Williams] truly, truly loves that dog. And for him to know that it was his actions that caused the dog to perish, its going to be difficult for him to deal with," Conyers Police Chief Gene Wilson told 11 Alive.
But after the K-9 died in the hot car, many people outside the department are calling for Jerahmy Williams to be fired and to face charges. The department's Facebook page is filled with angry messages.
"Your officer needs to be charged with animal cruelty just as a normal citizen would," wrote Ashlee Cerone. "This is absolutely disgusting and inexcusable. Any normal human being should know common sense LET ALONE A K-9 officer. There is no excuse for this and your officer needs to be held accountable."
While the majority of commenters believed that Jerahmy Williams deserved charges for leaving the K-9 in a hot car, others called for calm and to allow the department to complete its investigation. Conyers Police Department officials have not given a timeframe for when the investigation could be completed.
[Image via Facebook]