Pennsylvania Police Officer Charged In Death Of Police Dog, Allegedly Left Him In Hot Car

A Pennsylvania police officer has been charged with felony animal neglect after allegedly leaving a police drug-detecting dog in the back of his car for two and a half hours following a training exercise, the Harrisburg Patriot-News is reporting.

Police say that on July 2, Sergeant Chad Holland, 40, a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections officer, was on a training exercise at the state prison at Rockview. With him that day was “Totti,” a two-year-old male Labrador Retriever, who was a drug-sniffing dog employed by the Department of Corrections Drug Interdiction Unit.

Pennsylvania Police Dog
Tottie died after being left in a hot car for two hours. [Image courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections]

In a July 12 Patriot-News report, Corrections spokesperson Amy Worden said that Holland had stored “training items” in the vehicle following the exercises at the prison and had left them in his patrol car — Totti inside — beginning at about 12:15 p.m. Two and a half hours later, at 2:44 p.m., Holland realized that Totti was still in the car. The temperature that day reached as high as 90 degrees, according to Weather Underground.

Once Totti was removed from the car, Corrections staff tried to help the distressed animal by trying to cool him off with ice water and a hose. Their efforts failed, and he was taken to a nearby veterinary clinic. By 4:00 p.m., his temperature had stabilized, but he still had an extremely high heart rate. He was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m.

In a statement made available via Huffington Post, the Department of Corrections mourned the death of the dog.

“It is with great sadness that officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announce the passing of one of its Drug Interdiction Dogs… DOC staffers are extremely saddened by this tragic event.”

DOC officials vowed a complete investigation at the time, and this week their investigation concluded. Holland has since been charged with animal cruelty.

In an online petition calling for Holland’s firing, Kelsey Bourgeois called Holland a “heinous murderer.”

“Totti was a friendly 2-year-old yellow lab. She [sic] was also a police dog trained to sniff out drugs. Now she is dead because her handler left her in a hot car for over two and a half hours. This handler should lose his job now.”

NOTE: the petition got Totti’s sex wrong; Totti was a male, not a female.

As of this writing, that petition has received 161,059 signatures, out of a goal of 170,000.

This is the second time in two days that The Inquisitr has reported the story of a police dog dying from being left in a hot car by his handler.

Yesterday, The Inquisitr reported on the case of Matthew Peck, an Oklahoma police officer charged with leaving his K9 partner, Bak, to die in the back of a hot car. On Wednesday night, August 3, Peck and Bak were called to the scene of a traffic stop. Once the stop was concluded, Peck returned home. On Friday morning, August 5, Peck was driving to court when he noticed a smell coming from the back of his police cruiser. Bak, who had been left in the car for 38 hours, was dead.

A veterinarian said that Bak most likely survived the first night in the car, but he had no hope of surviving the next day, when temperatures reached as high as 99 degrees. Bak was pronounced dead of heat stroke.

Peck faces charges of felony animal cruelty.

Back in Pennsylvania, as of this writing, Chad Holland has not responded to requests for comment about allegedly leaving a dog to die in the back of his hot car.

[Image via Shutterstock/Maria Komar]