Sources: Death of 2 Bexar County Sheriff's Office K-9s preventable

K-9 deputies died after being left inside hot car for nearly 30 hours

SAN ANTONIO - New details emerged Monday night about how the deaths of two K-9 deputies with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office might have been prevented. 

Last Thursday, Deputy Steve Benoy left his two K-9's -- Vegas and Hades -- in the back of his county car for more than one day. He came back nearly 30 hours later to find both dogs dead.

But several sources have told KSAT 12 that those deaths were preventable because the Sheriff's Office had heat alarms that warn officers when their cars are too hot. Those systems, though, were never installed.

The systems are commonly know as K-9 heat alarms, or 'hot-dog' alarms. When a car's interior reaches a certain temperature, usually between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, the system kicks in.

The car automatically lowers the vehicle's windows, turns on a fan, and sets off the car's horn. Some systems even send a message to the responsible officer's cell phone.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office bought two similar systems in late 2009. It's still unclear why they were never installed, but the two systems sat in boxes, untouched on a training room floor for over a year.

The systems were bought with a grant for just over $27,000 for the K-9 Enhancement Program.

The heat alarms have since been removed from the building where they were initially kept, although it was not immediately clear where they are now. 

KSAT reached out to the Sheriff's Office several times Monday for comment. No phone calls were returned.

For a list of recent stories Matt Rivers has done, click here.


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