Instead, Columbia Master Police Officer David Hurt will be suspended without pay for five days, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said at a Thursday press conference. He also will no longer be allowed to handle K9s and will be suspended from the department’s bomb squad.
Hurt was the handler for Turbo, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever trained to detect explosives. Turbo worked for the department for 7 months before his death on July 26, according to South Carolina newspaper The State.
On July 26, Hurt left Turbo in a police vehicle from around 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while he attended an active-shooter training at a local high school.
Holbrook said at the news conference Hurt had parked the car in the shade and left the vehicle’s air conditioning on.
But for unclear reasons, he deactivated the vehicle’s heat alarm, which sets off a siren and horn if the inside temperature gets too hot. And while he asked someone else to visually check on Turbo around 11:30, he didn’t come back to the vehicle to give the dog a bathroom break.
When Hurt returned to the vehicle at around 3:30, Turbo was foaming at the mouth and clearly in distress. Though he brought Turbo to a vet, it was too late, and the dog ultimately had to be euthanized for organ failure as a result of the heat.
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