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Official: Police dog in Georgia found dead of heat stroke in patrol car

Story highlights

  • Spartacus was a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois at the Woodstock Police Department
  • The K-9 was cross-trained in drug detection, tracking and apprehension, police say
  • Authorities are not identifying Spartacus' handler
  • The handler has been placed on administrative leave, authorities say

A police dog died of heat stroke after being left in a patrol car in Woodstock, Georgia, authorities said Tuesday.

The 3-year-old dog, a Belgian Malinois named Spartacus, was found dead Monday night inside the K-9 handler's car, which was parked outside his home, Brittany Duncan, a Woodstock Police Department spokeswoman, said in a written statement.

A necropsy requested by the police department determined the cause of death was heat stroke, the statement said.

The statement did not detail why the car was parked at the handler's house nor did it say how long it had been parked there.

"The K9 handler is currently on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation," Duncan said.

The police department did not publicly identify Spartacus' handler, describing him only as a 9-year police veteran who has worked as a K-9 handler for seven of those years.

    "After the retirement of his first police K-9, who is now a family pet living with the K-9 handler, the handler is devastated by the loss of his second police K-9," Duncan said.

    Spartacus was cross-trained in drug detection, tracking and apprehension, according to the department.

    A memorial service for Spartacus will be announced at a later date, Duncan said.