Oklahoma Cop Facing Charges Of Animal Cruelty, Allegedly Left K9 Partner Locked In Hot Car For 38 Hours

An Oklahoma police officer is facing charges of animal cruelty for allegedly leaving his K9 partner locked in a hot patrol car for around 38 hours, causing the animal to die in agony, KOCO-TV (Oklahoma City) is reporting.

Matthew Peck, 29, had been partnered with Bak for four years. Sometime between Wednesday night, August 3, and Friday morning, August 5, that partnership came to an end. According to Peck’s arrest warrant, Peck and Bak were called to the scene of a traffic stop that Wednesday night. When all the I’s were dotted and T’s were crossed, Peck and Bak returned to Peck’s home. Peck did not return to his patrol car until he went to court Friday morning, 38 hours later.

Bak had been inside the patrol car the entire time.

On Friday morning, as Beck was driving to court, according to WXIN (Indianapolis), he noticed the smell coming from the back of his patrol car. On seeing the rotting body of his partner in the back, Peck went straight to his superior, Undersheriff John Smith.

A veterinarian brought in to investigate would later testify that Bak probably survived his first night in the patrol car. But the following day, as the temperature in Duncan rose to 99 degrees, and the temperature inside the car reached 105 degrees, Bak would have died of heat stroke pretty quickly.

Following an investigation, Peck was terminated from the police force, and the results of the investigation handed over to the district attorney. As of this writing, Peck has not yet been charged with any criminal wrongdoing, but charges of felony animal cruelty are believed to be forthcoming.

Back in Duncan, a “shocked” and “saddened” Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney mourned the loss of Bak, who was considered just as much a part of the police force as any human officer.

“This is a loss of one of our deputies or K9 deputies.”

Stephens also put the blame for the loss of Bak squarely at the feet of his former partner, Peck.

“The handler has the utmost responsibility to make sure that that dog is well taken care of… A tremendous amount of work goes into the dogs and not only with their dogs but with their handlers. Those two become partners. We will replace Bak and remember him, but we’ll continue.”

K9 officers are considered just as much a part of their police departments as their human colleagues. [Image via Shutterstock/NSC Photography]
This summer has been a particularly bad year for hot car deaths, both of animals and humans. According to advocacy group No Heat Stroke, 37 kids die in hot cars in the U.S. every year. Already in 2016, there have been 28 such deaths — and summer still has several weeks left. It is not clear how many animals have died in hot cars this summer.

In one particularly egregious case of hot car death out of Pennsylvania, as reported by the Inquisitr, an unnamed 4-year-old girl died in a hot car as her caretaker, having forgotten about her, went to work.

According to a 2014 NBC News report, even on a relatively cool, 80-degree day, the interior of a car can heat up 20 degrees in as little as 20 minutes. That kind of heat can be deadly to children and pets, even after a short period of exposure.

Back in Oklahoma, Matthew Peck has declined repeated requests for comment about Bak or the possible criminal charges against him.

Do you believe Mathew Peck should spend time in prison for the death of his K9 partner?

[Image via Shutterstock/John Roman Images]

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