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LOGAN — The Cache County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that police K-9 Endy died of heat exhaustion after being left alone in a hot police patrol car.
As of Tuesday, possible criminal charges were pending for Endy's handler.
The announcement comes two weeks after the department announced that Endy had died due "an unfortunate incident."
That incident happened on July 3. According to a press release from the sheriff's office, an internal investigation concluded that Endy's handler had not followed policies and procedures, which resulted in the dog's death.
“My administration has conducted a comprehensive review of our canine program including equipment, care, welfare, daily maintenance and training. I believe our policies and procedures are sound. This incident was a result of human error and protocol violation," Sheriff Chad Jensen said in a prepared statement.
Without going into detail, Jensen cited "distraction" as being to blame for the incident.
"Through our investigation surrounding the circumstances of Endy’s death, we are actively pursuing new technology wherein all K-9 units will be equipped with end of shift warning systems. Handlers will be forced to manually shut down the security system and this system will give verbal warnings to the handler to remove the canine from the vehicle. If not manually shut down, the system will activate horns, lights and sirens until the canine is removed safely," according to the sheriff's office.
"Endy’s death serves as a devastating reminder to us all about the importance of eliminating distractions, maintaining a routine and being vigilant about never leaving children or pets unattended in hot vehicles," Jensen said.
Endy's handler, who was not named in the release, was placed on leave without pay and reassigned to a different division.
An investigation by the Northern Utah Critical Incident Task Force was on-going as of Tuesday.
“While this is a significant loss and setback to our K-9 program, over time I am confident we will move forward with a stronger and more effective canine program that will continue to be an incredible asset and resource to our community," Jensen's statement said. "The loss of Endy was unexpected and heartbreaking, and our officers mourn his loss. Endy was a beloved member of our organization and our community."