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Indiana sheriff’s deputy suspended after K9 officer dies of heat stroke in squad car

DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. — A northeastern Indiana sheriff’s deputy has been suspended over the death of a 5-year-old K9 officer after it was left inside his hot patrol car.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department says Deputy Courtney Fuller will be suspended without pay for 30 days. The department says an investigation determined Fuller didn’t commit any criminal acts but violated employee standards of conduct.

“Indiana has several possible criminal charges, none of which fits the facts in this case,” the prosecutor’s office said. “Generally, criminal law punishes people for their voluntary conduct only. In this case, the handler’s conduct was unknowing and involuntary. Therefore, no criminal statue applies.”

Sheriff Don Lauer says Fuller left K9 officer Mojo inside his patrol car after his shift ended about 3 p.m. on July 6. Fuller became “distracted by a situation” involving his newborn child, and failed to remove Mojo from the back of the car.

Around 7:15 p.m. Fuller noticed Mojo wasn’t in his kennel, and he found Mojo dead of an apparent heat stroke in the back of his squad car.

Officials say a necropsy at Purdue University found the dog’s death was consistent with heat stroke.

The department says Fuller will no longer be a canine handler.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.