A K9 officer with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office has died after an air conditioning unit failed.

According to a press release, a series of unforeseen events involving technical issues with a patrol vehicle led to the tragedy. Four-year-old K9 Midas passed away Sunday, July 29th.

Hancock County Sheriff Ralph A. Fletcher said, “These animals aren’t just a tool. They become partners. They become part of the family of the handler, and they become endeared to the rest of the department. It affects everybody. I don’t know anyone in this department who isn’t a dog lover.”

Hancock County Sheriff’s confirm K9 Midas was inside his vehicle kennel when the air conditioning unit in the cruiser malfunctioned and failed to operate.

K9 cruisers in the county are equipped with safety windows which are designed to lower the two back windows, activate a window fan, and set off an alarm when the temperature inside the cruiser reaches a certain level.

According to the release, that equipment also failed. Once it was discovered that the equipment had failed, steps were taken to help the distressed K9.

Officials tried to get the K9 officer cooled down by packing him with ice while he was being transported to Town and Country Animal Hospital in Wheeling. Wheeling Police was notified about the emergency situation and met Hancock County crews at the county line where more ice was applied to the lethargic K9.

The veterinarian along with the staff at Town and Country started to work with K9 Midas and he reportedly started responding. Throughout the day, positive updates were given on Midas’ health. 

Due to his initial recovery and his increased mobility, the staff became concerned. Midas was then sedated in order to rest. During that time, Midas managed to pull out his catheter.

Officials believe that action may have caused a blood clot to become dislodged which caused Midas to experience a seizure. K9 Midas died as a result of that seizure.