OCEANA, WV (WVNS) — A West Virginia K-9 officer died after they were reportedly left in a hot police cruiser in July.
According to information from Chief Tyler Dunigon with the Oceana Police Department, an unnamed Oceana police officer is no longer with the department after his K-9 partner died from being left in a hot car on July 4, 2023.
Chief Dunigon spoke with 7News news partner, 59News, and provided details about what happened.
The unnamed officer, after reportedly working a shift consisting of multiple trips from Wyoming County to Raleigh County and being awake for longer than 24 hours, returned to the department in Oceana to finish his paperwork.
While inside, the officer fell asleep, leaving his K-9 partner in the car. According to Chief Dunigon, it was a lower temperature when the officer left the dog in the cruiser and the back windows were opened slightly. However, once the officer woke up, the temperature had risen significantly and he returned to the cruiser to find the K-9 officer dead.
The officer was immediately suspended for three days without pay and an internal investigation was opened. According to both Chief Dunigon and Oceana Mayor Tom Evans, the officer officially resigned as of Wednesday, August 9, 2023.
The complete findings of the Oceana Police Department’s investigation are going to be brought in front of the Oceana City Council on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
Mayor Evans said that while this was under devastating circumstances, he was pleased with the immediate action taken to investigate the incident.
Chief Dunigon stated that the Wyoming County Prosecutor’s Office has opened its own outside investigation into the K-9 officer’s death. He said his entire department will be cooperative in any way they can throughout the entire investigation.