|Death: ||Jul. 21, 2008|
A Mulberry police dog left in a patrol car died Monday after the car's air conditioning compressor failed.
Police Chief Lawrence Cavallaro said the dog, named Sam Diesel, died from the heat. The 2-year-old German shepherd had been in the car for more than an hour.
The Mulberry department purchased the dog after Wal-Mart employees from 10 stores in Polk and Hillsborough counties donated about $12,625.
Mulberry is about 10 miles south of Lakeland.
Diesel's handler, Officer Sara Movahedi, was working inside the police station and left the dog in the car with the air conditioning running. Cavallaro said that is done routinely.
When Movahedi returned to the car about 3:50 p.m. to answer a call she found that Diesel had died and the car's air vents were blowing hot air.
Cavallaro said Movahedi wasn't at fault. However, he said, "A periodic check (on the dog) would have helped. We're learning a hard lesson by it."
"Right now, she isn't doing well," Cavallaro said. "It's not a matter of losing your property. It's a traumatic situation. It's just like losing your partner."
(from the St Petersburg Times)
A highly trained German shepherd is dead after being left in a hot car by its handler. Thousands of dollars went into training the K-9 officer to fight crime.
Mulberry - Officer Sara Movahedi and her K-9 partner Sam diesel are the talk of the town in Mulberry. Leslie Wise says "It's a tragedy that she lost the dog because the dog was doing a job for our community you know." E.J. Williams says "If that would have been me or you they would have charged us regardless."
Sara Movahedi is an officer with the Mulberry police department and has worked with the agency for two years as a K-9 handler. She spent 400 hours training with her German shepherd, Sam Diesel. The dog cost 8,500 dollars and his training cost 15,000 dollars. The dog got his first name after Sam Walton since Wal-Mart employees from several stores donated the money for his purchase. Officers say he got the last name Diesel for the dark color of his coat.
On Monday Movahedi discovered Diesel's lifeless body in the back of her newly assigned squad car which is a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria. She'd been driving a 2002 Explorer but it had 100,000 miles on it and it was starting to have problems according to her police chief so they switched her to a newer vehicle.
Chief Larry Cavallaro says that car was being equipped with all the standard equipment needed for a K-9 officer to work out of it. It had recently received a metal cage to protect the dog during transport.
Movahedi was inside the station writing reports for 3 and a half hours while the dog was in the car with the air conditioner running. While leaving a dog inside a car is against the law for others the police chief says it's not uncommon for K-9 teams.
Chief Larry Cavallaro says "That's when the hood comes up. The air conditioner comes on and the air conditioner is running of course. If a regular citizen would leave any animal in a vehicle especially as hot as it's been for any great length of time that would be suspect. But in canine situations we go to calls all the time that last 3, 4, 6, 10 hours at a time."
Chief Cavallaro says the dogs are routinely left inside the cool cars until they are needed. The dogs are trained to help in crowd control, drug searches, recovering stolen merchandise and searching for missing people.
Cavallaro admits while its standard policy at law enforcement departments across the country several things went wrong in this case and an investigation is now underway. Cavallaro says within the past 30 days a new air compressor was installed in Movahedi's car. "But in this case the compressor actually failed."
Another crucial piece of equipment hadn't been installed in her car. All K-9 vehicles are supposed to have special heat sensors. Movahedi's car was next in line for one. When the heat sensor is on and the vehicle overheats the back windows come down, a fan goes on, the horn beeps and the officer's pager is alerted.
Cavallaro says this is the first time this has ever happened and he says this is the last time too because he is making some immediate changes in their 16 page Canine Unit Policy.
He says it is now mandatory that all K-9 vehicles must have heat sensors and when a dog is left alone in the handler's vehicle the animal must be checked on every thirty minutes.
Cavallaro is hoping to educate the public too on why the highly trained canine units are not simply allowed to go inside the station with their handlers. "The dogs are not trained to be kenneled outside this car. They understand in their training that when this door pops open they're going to work and that's part of the training and when it happens the dog knows that he or she is being deployed and that's what they react to."
Still Cavallaro says due to the high cost of gas a lot of departments are looking for other solutions to leaving the dogs in the cars and he is open to suggestions. Meanwhile the chief says he's standing by Movahedi and says he'd like to see her back at work later this week. She's their only canine handler. They have two other police dogs.
Tammie Fields, Tampa Bay's 10 News
For more information on how to help please visit www.k-9forlife.com
Since Sam Diesel's passing, the Mulberry Police Department announced their policies have changed. Officers who work wth dogs must check on the animals every 30 minutes and special heat alarms must be installed in cars carrying dogs.
Note: Sam Diesel will be cremated and will have a private burial service. It will be up to Movahedi to decide whether or not he recieves a memorial.
Created by: J.A. & D.S.
Record added: Aug 02, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 28719888
Added by: Anonymous
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