An Ohio police officer is facing animal cruelty charges after his K9 partner, Beny, died inside a hot car on Sept. 28.
The German shepherd died from heat stroke after about four hours.
Montville Township Police Sgt. Brett Harrison left Beny inside the car with the windows rolled up. It was 80 degrees outside.
Harrison later said he thought he left the car on when he parked it outside the police department.
The 2-year-old dog’s body was found lifeless inside the car more than four hours later.
Police referred the incident to the Medina County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which will decide whether Harrison will face criminal charges. The SPCA opened an investigation into the death Tuesday.
“Animals are property, but they are the only kind of property that have to be provided with care so they do not suffer,” SPCA prosecutor Jeff Holland told WKYC.
Upset at the loss of his partner, Harrison issued an apology earlier this week.
"Most of all, I want to say I'm sorry to my partner, friend and loving family member Beny. I wish every day that I could go back and change that day or that I could put myself in your place," Harrison said. "You will always be in my heart and I will miss you every second of every day.”
Security footage reportedly showed Harrison in a state of panic when he found the dog, according to Police Chief Terry Grice.
Harrison was suspended for two weeks without pay and will not be given another police dog when he is reassigned, Grice said.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Kristine Gunter, AP / Daily News