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Porterville police dog dies after patrol car’s air conditioning shuts down

Porterville Police dog “Idol” died June 20 in the back of a patrol car when the engine shut down and stopped the air conditioning from keeping the interior cool.
Porterville Police dog “Idol” died June 20 in the back of a patrol car when the engine shut down and stopped the air conditioning from keeping the interior cool.
(Porterville Police Department)

A Porterville police dog died in June when a patrol car’s air conditioning stopped working, the police department announced Thursday.

The dog’s handler placed “Idol” in the patrol car with the air conditioning on after a training session on June 20. The temperature outside was 90 degrees, according to a department statement.

“It is a common practice for officers to ... keep their partners in their K-9 vehicles  for protection against high or low temperatures,” the statement said. 

When the handler returned an hour and a half later, he noticed the car was no longer running and “Idol” was dead in the back, police said.

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The vehicles are equipped with a warning system designed to alert the handler when the temperatures in the vehicle become unsafe.

“However, this system did not activate,” the department said.

An investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department found a cable to the warning system was not connected. But tests of the system with the cable on showed it was faulty, according to police.

The department said it is in the process of refitting all K-9 units with new, state-of-the-art warning systems as well as implementing other safety procedures.

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ruben.vives@latimes.com

For more Southern California news, follow @latvives on Twitter.

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