A Perry County, Mississippi, police dog was left in a patrol car overnight and died. Three-year-old Napo was found dead in the Perry County sheriff’s vehicle, after spending the night locked inside.
Handler Steve Verret reportedly forgot the dog was inside the vehicle.
Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith states that Napo may have died from a heart attack or heat exhaustion, but an official cause of death was not determined.
As reported by 14 News, Napo was with the Perry County sheriff’s office for over a year. The Belgian Malinois cost the county somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000. A large portion of the funding for Napo’s purchase was received from local business owners.
Although the police dog was left in the patrol car, and died, over three weeks ago, the incident was not made public until this week.
As reported by WLOX News, Perry County residents are outraged and have demanded that the handler be charged with neglect.
Mississippi Animal Advocate Group founder Katherine Sammons sympathizes with the officer stating that she is sure he “feels terrible about what happened.” However, she feels Verret should be charged with neglect.
Sammons explains that the situation is painful for everyone involved. She states that she has “known a lot of K-9 officers in [her] time and they all have been really great people who love their animals and treat them like family.”
Sheriff Smith states that Deputy Verret has been reassigned, but has not been charged criminally for Napo’s death. The sheriff’s department had an official funeral for the police dog, and buried him, shortly after the incident occurred.
As Napo was buried without a necropsy being performed, his cause of death may never be known. At this point, it can only be assumed that he died as a result of being locked inside the car.
Perry County residents are angry that the police dog was left in the patrol car overnight, and died. They expect answers from the Perry County Sheriff.
Sheriff Smith has not issued any further statement about the incident.
[Image via Facebook]