A D.C. police dog was found dead Monday inside of its marked K-9 police cruiser, according to authorities.
The Metropolitan Police Department said that the body of Rocket, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, or “Malinois Shepherd,” was found by its handler. The dog was left inside of a parked and idling D.C. police SUV in the 2800 block of New York Avenue NE when the officer returned to find Rocket had died.
Law enforcement sources that spoke with WRC-TV said that the dog was left in the SUV with the air conditioning running, but the air conditioner failed and the dog died inside the car.
D.C. police said that all of its K9 vehicles have a temperature monitoring and alarm system that is supposed to activate when the interior car becomes too hot.
Rocket was a longtime explosives detection dog.
An investigation is underway to determine what caused the dog’s death, including to see if the vehicle’s system malfunctioned.