WOODSTOCK, Ga. - The police officer whose K9
died of heat stroke in the back of his squad vehicle was cited for animal cruelty and suspended, according to a statement released by Woodstock Police Department.
Officer Chad Berry, a K9
handler for seven years, left Spartacus, a Belgian Malinois, in his patrol vehicle when he arrived home in Pickens County on June 17, according to police.
Berry found Spartacus dead inside the patrol car at about 9 p.m.
A necropsy of the 3-year-old K9 determined the probable cause of death was heat stroke and there were no signs of abuse or maltreatment, according to police.
Investigations by the Pickens County sheriff and the Woodstock Police Department confirmed Berry had no intent to injure Spartacus.
Berry, a nine-year veteran of Woodstock Police Department, was fined $325, removed from the K9 program and suspended without pay for 10 days. He has been reassigned to the traffic enforcement unit, according to police.
Spartacus, a certified multi-purpose dog, performed narcotics detection, tracking, and apprehension for the department, according to Brittany Duncan, Woodstock police spokeswoman.
Spartacus' death prompted an internal review of the Woodstock Police Department's canine policies and further safeguards were added to ensure the safety of other K9s, according to police.