Officer charged in death of K-9 found in hot car

WHITEVILLE, Tenn. — A K-9 officer faces an animal cruelty charge after a service dog was found dead in a hot vehicle.

StricklandAn officer from the Whiteville Police Department responded Tuesday to the Hardeman County Correctional Facility in reference to a service dog found dead in a hot vehicle.

An affidavit says a service dog for the Corrections Corporation of America named Kilo was found dead in K-9 Officer Robert Strickland’s vehicle kennel. The responding officer noticed the engine was turned off, windows were rolled up and there was no water left for Kilo, according to officials.

Due to Strickland’s failure to provide a safe environment for K-9 Kilo that resulted in his death, he has been charged with animal cruelty.

Strickland stated he arrived to a training site at about 8:30 a.m. and did not check on Kilo until about 1 p.m., according to the affidavit. Officials say when Strickland noticed Kilo was unresponsive and not breathing, he performed CPR on the dog but his efforts were unsuccessful. Strickland admits this was accidental, according to the affidavit.

Officials say according to the National Weather Service, the temperatures reached around 86 to 88 degrees on Tuesday.

Grady Perry, warden of the Hardeman County CCA Correctional Facility, says the estimated cost of K-9 Kilo was $5,000 and restitution would be to the Correctional Corporation of America Hardeman Facility.

“CCA is heartbroken over the loss of Kilo, as is his handler. He was a treasured member of our team, and we are all saddened by this tragic accident,” said Steve Owen, private investigating officer with CCA.

“To honor Kilo’s memory, we are donating $5,000 to the Hardeman County Humane Society,” Owen said. “We are also conducting a company-wide refresher with all of our K-9 officers to review protocols for dog care and safety, especially as we enter into the summer months.”

Owen says Robert Strickland is at this time on paid administrative leave. He says they are working to gather more information on this incident.

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