Louisiana Tech University is mourning the death of Tech XX, the popular little English Bulldog that has been the school mascot for the past four years. His accidental death was attributed to the negligence of an animal hospital employee who then attempted a cover up.
Tech XX was reported missing on Sunday evening, July 29. At that time, Dr. Patrick Sexton reported he was last seen when an employee let him out for a potty break about 8:30 p.m. at Sexton Animal Health Center in Ruston. "He wasn't outside five minutes and he was gone," Sexton said Monday.
Tech XX was named Louisiana Tech’s mascot in 2008 when he was just a 3-month-old. puppy. Dr. Sexton, owner of the clinic, has cared for him since that time and immediately offered a $1,000 reward for TechXX’s safe return..
The story of Tech XX’s mysterious disappearance was published by the Shreveport Times, quoting Will Dearmon, Student Government Association President at LaTech, “We’ll do what it takes to bring him home safely. He’s everyone’s dog and we have to get him back.”
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Word spread about the missing mascot through social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag, #FindTechXX. A second $1,000 reward was added.
Sadly, on August 1, Louisiana Tech released a statement that Tech XX had died as the result of a heatstroke from being left outside in the hot, humid weather. Dr. Sexton conveyed the following written information regarding TechXX’s untimely demise:
“Regretfully, I learned this morning that through negligence of an employee, Tech XX was left outside too long on Sunday evening and passed away from a heat stroke. That employee unfortunately chose to handle it the wrong way and attempted to cover it up. Due to this negligence, the employee is no longer employed by Sexton Animal Health Center.
“My family, my staff and I are extremely upset at this tragic turn of events as I know the entire Louisiana Tech Family is as well…”
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Louisiana Tech University officials responded:
"Louisiana Tech University was saddened to learn of Tech XX's passing this past Sunday evening. He will be remembered for being a fan favorite and a symbol of the spirit of Louisiana Tech.
“Since becoming our official mascot in 2008, Tech XX received superior care and a loving home from Dr. Patrick Sexton and, despite the unfortunate circumstances of the past few days, we are grateful for all he and his family have done for our beloved mascot.”
It is possible the details of what occurred on Sunday may not have been accurately disclosed even to Dr. Sexton by the employee who attempted the cover-up. But accidents do happen and humans don’t always act well when facing the consequences of a horrible mistake.
In this case, the “accident” was fatal to a beloved canine celebrity and has become the subject of widespread public attention, speculation and grief.
Rather than allowing this fervor to fade into just another forgotten moment in sports history, Tech XX’s familiar face and the reward money provide an opportunity for an annual campaign in his memory to be launched by LaTech and Dr. Sexton, reminding all dog owners and caretakers of the dangers of hot weather to any dog. That would be a more fitting tribute to Tech XX than remorse!