KDWPT K-9 dies after vehicle quits on hot day

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) A Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism K-9 named “Tibbie” died last August after she was left in a vehicle that stalled, cutting off the air conditioning that was keeping her cool, the agency said.

In a statement released Friday, KDWPT explained Tibbie’s game warden handler, Adam Pack, found the Labrador retriever in the hot vehicle. He and a local veterinarian gave her emergency care before rushing her to Kansas State University’s Veterinary Health Center, where Tibbie passed away.

“K-9 handlers have a bond with their animal that is as strong as any human partner, and this team was no different,” KDWPT Law Enforcement Division director Col. Jason Ott said. “These K-9s aren’t just a law enforcement asset, they’re also a friend and colleague. We feel for Adam and the loss he’s experienced, and the impact this has on the K-9 program and law enforcement division.”

KDWPT released more information on Tibbie’s death Friday following the completion of an investigation.

They say Pack secured her in the vehicle when he went to take care of some business that did not require Tibbie, which is standard practice in such cases. The specially-outfitted vehicles have heat-alarm systems that are designed to lower the windows and engage fans if the engine stalls and the cabin reaches certain temperatures.

Investigators were not able to determine why the vehicle stalled, however they found the heat alarm was not engaged at the time. KDWPT’s internal investigation revealed Pack had not checked the system that day to make sure it was working.

As a result of the investigation, the agency checking all of its vehicles that carry K-9 units and modifying its procedures to try to prevent this from happening again.