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Woodstock Police K-9 Dies of Heat Stroke

The Woodstock Police K-9 handler has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

K-9 Spartacus died Tuesday evening as a result of a heat stroke. Photo Credit: Woodstock Police Department
K-9 Spartacus died Tuesday evening as a result of a heat stroke. Photo Credit: Woodstock Police Department

The Woodstock Police Department is mourning the loss of its police K-9.

The department announced Tuesday afternoon that its K-9 Spartacus, was found dead in his handler's patrol car around 9 p.m. Monday.  

The dog was discovered in the car, which was at the handler's home in Pickens County. 

A necropsy was performed at the request of the Woodstock Police Department and the cause of death was determined to be heat stroke, the department said in a news release.  

Spartacus, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois, was a certified multi-purpose dog for the department and he worked narcotics detection, tracking, and apprehension. 

Spartacus' handler, a nine-year veteran of the police department, seven of which he has been a K-9 handler. 

He's currently on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The Pickens County Sheriff's Office, which responded to the incident, is conducting a separate investigation. 

"After the retirement of his first police K-9 who is now a family pet living with the K-9 handler, the handler is devastated by the loss of his second police K-9," Woodstock Police Department Public Information Officer Brittany Duncan said in the press release.

An announcement for a memorial service for Spartacus will be made at a future date. 

"We are committed to the care and proper treatment of our working K-9s," Duncan added. "We are mourning the loss of one of our own."

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Holcombe David R June 18, 2013 at 04:48 PM
"The department announced Tuesday afternoon that its K-9 Spartacus, was found dead in his handler's patrol car around 9 p.m. Tuesday."........ It's 4:45 on Tuesday right now...... We still have time to stop this!!
Sarah Horgan June 18, 2013 at 04:55 PM
"He's currently on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation."??? Really? He gets to sit at home and get paid?? You killed your partner, you don't get to sit at home and eat Bon Bons and get paid your same salary. This is a shameful act and should not be taken lightly be the police department. The officer should be relieved of all of his duties as a police officer.
Lizabeth Richie Roadman June 18, 2013 at 06:49 PM
I completely agree with Sarah. If it were a civilian, they'd be in jail already!
Ginny herman June 18, 2013 at 07:14 PM
It's politics that he's being paid per investigation ! But there is no excuse for leaving your partner/ dog in the car in the driveway. I can't imagine him getting away with this!!
David R June 18, 2013 at 07:56 PM
You shouldn't convict the officer before you know ANY of the circumstances. Let the facts come out.
Sarah Horgan June 18, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Facts are: There is a deceased K9 He died of Heat Stroke in the back of his own police cruiser His body was found in his handler's driveway How many more facts do you need Dave????
David R June 18, 2013 at 09:07 PM
I understand your passion and anger. But lynch mobs went out a 100 years ago. You don't know any of the circumstances. If he was indeed negligent, we'll hear about it in the details. Until then, it's unfair to lay blame before knowing the facts.
Sarah Horgan June 18, 2013 at 09:12 PM
No lynch mob here. Just fed up with K9 Officers being negligent with their partners. There is no good reason and/or any other details that we need to know to know that he is guilty. It is an embarrassment to our community. We pay good money for these dogs and we entrust them into the care of their handlers. Officer Chad Berry has failed his community, and most importantly his partner. RIP Spartacus
David R June 18, 2013 at 09:38 PM
I disagree until we hear details. The whole thing is sad though no doubt.
Alicia Hughes June 19, 2013 at 08:15 AM
This is a completely sad and tragic situation.... I hope that no tragedy or mistake ever comes upon some of the people commenting here. Some of you will never realize the full extent of what its like to live in the public eye, to serve a community and to put your life on the line for COMPLETE strangers. To leave your home each day/evening not knowing if you will return to your family .... To know that your mistakes will be displayed to the public, while your commendations are just filed away... none of us have the right to judge. Let the investigations take place and dont judge someone until you know the facts. This is a tragic event, but these are GOOD people, hes a wonderful father and they are very loving to all of their animals.
Katie Guess June 19, 2013 at 08:37 AM
You disagree until you hear the details?? The details are that the dog was found dead of heat stroke in his handler's car... what more details do you need? A police officer should know better, especially being a handler for nine years, you do not leave a dog unattended in a hot car in any circumstance! He needs to be charged with animal cruelty at the very least, and relieved of his duties for being negligent. I am not saying the officer needs to be lynched, but his negligence lead to the suffering and death of a fellow officer. Good people make mistakes and most of us have to suffer the consequences of our actions, a police officer should not be an exception.
Michelle Poloney June 19, 2013 at 09:36 AM
Not standing up for anyone here but just a thought what is the normal time for that officer to leave work? He lives in Pickens so that could be another 30 min- an hour getting home. Who is to say he didn't just get home and park his car in his driveway when he realized something had happened to his dog. Just because they were in the driveway doesn't mean he left his dog in the back of a patrol car for hours. Why don't we find out the story before pointing fingers. I worked in downtown Woodstock for years and saw how the officers would treat the dogs even when they had accidents in the back of the squad car. Quit with the jumping to conclusions and wanting to jail everyone. You weren't there so we need an investigation to find out what really happened.
Jodi C June 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Come on folks. Our country is founded on the concept that we should not be judged until all of the details are evaluated. There are MANY possibilities other than negligence that could have happened here. For example, a child could have been playing with the dog and put it in the car. It's tragic no matter what happened. Even if the officer left him in the car as many have jumped to conclude, he is human, and, as humans we have flaws. I, for one, can't imagine the stress that police officers face daily, and the distractions that could potentially lead to this officer forgetting that his dog was still in the car. I ALMOST left my daughter in the car as an infant one day because of major distractions. A school principal actually did one time, and her daughter died. Of course she was completely devastated, and unfortunately people crucified her. We are human. This is tragic. Please don't judge and make this family's pain so much worse. Horrible things could happen to each one of us in this multi-tasking, distracting world that we live in.
Renee Wilson June 19, 2013 at 01:22 PM
I know this Officer and he is a awesome handler and a wonderful Father. He must be dying inside because of this. I have known him since he got Spartacus and he loved that dog! Something had to happen for this tragedy to occur. So I will stand behind him no matter what. I know its awful and I will miss Spartacus but I want to find out what happened before I judge anyone.
tina losey June 19, 2013 at 02:35 PM
K-9 cars are equipped with systems to let officers know the car is overheating and, when it gets too hot, a fan is supposed to turn on and the windows are supposed to go down. These dogs are left in the car with a/c all the time; the officers cannot bring the dogs into restaurants, etc. They go on calls that the dog is not needed. The dog is safe in the car. This man LOVED that dog. This was a terrible accident and we don't know all the details yet, so please do not judge. I am sure he is torturing himself enough for everyone right now. Those of you calling for him to be fired and arrested should wait for the investigation to be completed. I know that you may want to be this man's judge and jury, but you are not. His life as he knew it is changed forever. Maybe we should have some compassion all around. We don't know all of the details.
Katherine Williamson June 19, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Alicia - I am not a police officer, but I DO leave home every day knowing that I may not return, and that I may not see my family. Something could happen to any of us, it's not just police officers. And many, many of us live in the public eye, and our mistakes are out there for the world to see. I work in healthcare - try making a mistake with a patient, or dealing with a family who are clueless. I sympathize with this officer and cry because of the unspeakable tragedy of losing such a wonderful creature. I'm reserving judgement because police officers make mistakes JUST LIKE ALL OF US. He is no better or worse.
Wendy Lowe June 20, 2013 at 12:57 AM
http://www.wtoc.com/story/22637795/scmpd-keeps-k-9-teams-safe-in-the-summer-heat. Great story on how 5)3 k-9's are protected from heat in Savannah.... Surely most k-9 cars are equipped this way.
Georgia CopBlock June 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM
With the help of followers of Georgia CopBlock We have successfully voiced our opinion on officers being held accountable for their actions. www.gacopblock.org www.facebook.com/georgiacopblock
Lee Bridges June 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM
It takes only minutes for a dog to have a heat stroke especially with the kind of temps we have. That's why people should NEVER leave their dogs in the car while they run into the grocery store or where ever for a few minutes... Heat builds quickly inside a car, and it only takes a few minutes before the dog dies of a heat stroke.
Katie Guess July 11, 2013 at 03:22 PM
It sure would be nice to read a follow up to this article. I would like to know if the investigation is still pending... :)

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