An investigation into the death of a Florida police dog found that the canine’s officer originally lied about leaving the animal in the back of a hot car.
Igor, a 4-year-old German Shepard, had an internal body temperature of more than 110 degrees — roughly eight degrees hotter than a dog’s normal temperature — and died of heat stroke in April after being left for hours in the boiling backseat of a Kissimmee Police Department vehicle at a service center.
A Florida Department of Law Enforcement report obtained by the Daily News showed Officer Gerardo Bellido said that he had first found the dog in the air-conditioned backseat of his special K9 unit car when he returned home for the evening.
In fact, Igor had been left in a different car at a police service station from around 4:30 p.m., when Bellido switched to the specialized air-conditioned car but forgot to move his dog.
The officer had been participating in training exercises with Igor on a day when temperatures were in the 80s.
He ended up going back to the hot vehicle three and a half hours after he left the dog in the back seat of the regular patrol car, where he found the pooch in distress. Bellido originally told investigators that he had no idea what could have caused the canine’s death.
The 11-year Kissimmee veteran said that he had heard Igor barking at girls walking by the Mexican restaurant where he ate with colleagues after leaving the dog in the car.
Igor, 4, had a body temperature of more than 110 degrees when he died, and a veterinarian estimated that he survived for two hours in the back of a police car left at a service center.
However, he later said he was a “man of integrity” and admitted to a training officer that he had forgotten to move the dog to the air-conditioned car.
A veterinarian cited in the FDLE report said that Igor had likely been dead for two hours before he was examined, meaning he survived for around two hours in the hot car before succumbing to the boiling temps.
The Orlando Sentinel cited a Kissimmee Police Department internal affairs report saying that Bellido transferred Igor from the abandoned car to the air-conditioned one before taking him to the clinic.
He was found to have violated his department’s policy by neglect in performance of his duties and falsification of a report.
Bellido is no longer a K9 officer, but remains with the Kissimmee Police Department and was reportedly suspended for 160 hours, hours that were docked from his accrued vacation time.
‘I suffered enough from everything,” he told the Sentinel, saying he did not want to talk about the incident.
“It’s not being investigated anymore, it’s all cleared and over with.”
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Fred’s Note; how is it possible that a K9 officer and handler can forget his Dog?