WOODSTOCK, GA -- A Woodstock Police K9 is dead after being left in an officer's patrol car Monday evening.
According to Woodstock Police Chief Calvin Moss, the dog, Spartacus, was found dead in his handler's patrol car around 9pm.
Moss said the dog's handler, Officer Chad Berry, a 12-year law enforcement veteran, immediately called his supervisor. The car was parked at Officer Berry's home in Pickens County. The Pickens County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident, while Woodstock Police are conducting an internal investigation.
Chief Moss said the cause of death was determined to be heat stroke.
Officer Berry has spent nine years with the Woodstock Police Department, seven of those as a K9 handler. According to Chief Moss, Berry has hundreds of hours of K9 training. A 2010 officer of the year, Berry recently took 2nd place at a K9 handling competition.
The officer retired his first K9, Atticus, who is now living with Berry as a family pet.
Berry is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation. A Pickens County Sheriff Dept. spokesman said investigators are working to determine how long the dog was left in the car. They will meet with the district attorney in the coming days to determine whether Berry will face criminal charges.
Spartacus was a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois. According to Moss, Spartacus was a certified multi-purpose dog who helped out with detection, tracking and apprehension.
A memorial service for Spartacus will be held; the date has not yet been decided.