Police dog dies after officer left him in car 8 hours, chief says

Labrador retriever with Columbia PD dies from heat, officer suspended 5 days

The State
The State

COLUMBIA, South Carolina – A 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever police K-9 with the Columbia Police Department died July 28 after being left in a vehicle for 8 hours, according to The State.

The dog, Turbo, was with the department for seven months and worked with Master Police Officer David Hurt, who is being held responsible for the dog's death.

The State reported that Hurt was at Johnson High School in Columbia for active-shooter training and turned off the K-9 vehicle’s heat alarm, which would have alerted the officer as well as set off a siren if the temperature inside the vehicle got to high.

Hurt said he had another officer check on Turbo around 11:30 a.m. after he'd been in the car since 7:30 a.m. 

The officer reportedly told Hurt that Turbo was fine, but when Hurt went back to the vehicle at 3:30 p.m. Turbo showed obvious signs of distress like heavy panting and foaming at the mouth, The State reported.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook acknowledged mistakes were made and said "Officer Hurt was very emotionally attached ... this is not something that just goes away. This is something he’ll live with.”

But he also said Hurt, "didn’t give any logical reason for why he deactivated the heat alarm.”

Hurt isn’t facing criminal charges and has been suspended for five days without pay. He’s also been suspended from the bomb squad for six months and has been removed as a K-9 officer.

Holbrook told The State it cost nearly $25,000 to get Turbo trained and on the force.


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