HOUSTON -- A 4-year-old police K-9 named Aron with one and a half years or experience on the force has died from heat exhaustion after being left in an air-conditioned patrol car that unexpectedly shut off when the officer was away from the vehicle.
The incident occurred on Monday in Houston, Texas, when the handler of the K-9 left the dog in a "running, air-conditioned patrol vehicle, which is necessary and common practice when the K-9 partner is not actively engaged in police work," read a statement from the Houston Police Department announcing Aron's death.
"When Aron's police handler returned to the vehicle, it was discovered that the engine had been shut off and Aron was in distress," authorities continued.
Aron was immediately transported to an emergency veterinarian clinic but ultimately succumbed to heat exhaustion.
Houston Police Department vehicles are "equipped with a system that notifies the handler, sounds the horn, activates cooling fans, and rolls down the car windows if for some reason the vehicle shuts down," HPD said. "This did not happen in this instance."
The Houston Police Department says it will now be investigating Aron's death to figure out what exactly happened and how the vehicle malfunctioned so that a similar incident can be prevented from happening in the future and all HPD vehicles that transport K-9s will immediately be inspected prior to being deployed again to ensure that all of their systems are in good working order.
Said the Houston Police Department: "Please keep Aron's handler and the entire K-9 team in your prayers as they mourn the loss of Aron."