By Kristina Davis
The San Diego Union-Tribune
ALPINE, Calif. — Police and county authorities are investigating the death of a San Diego police dog who was found dead in the back of his handler's patrol car on Friday.
Officer Paul Hubka told police that he walked out to his car parked in front of his home in Alpine on Friday afternoon and found the body of his 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, Forrest.
Investigators are awaiting the results of a necropsy by County Animal Services to determine the cause of death, said San Diego police spokeswoman Monica Muñoz.
It was unclear how long the dog had been in the back seat before he was discovered or if heat played a factor. Temperatures in Alpine reached over 100 degrees on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
Hubka, a 22-year veteran of the department who also sits on the board of directors for the San Diego Police Officer's Association, declined to comment via e-mail on Tuesday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Neighbor Bill Mariotti described the officer and his family as “good people” and said the incident was unfortunate.
Hubka also has a black Labrador and a small terrier at his home, Mariotti said.
The Police Department has lost two Belgian Malinois dogs in the past few years to a condition known as gastric torsion, also known as bloat, Muñoz said. The deep-chested breed is susceptible to the sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
Hubka has been put on desk duty because he cannot work without a dog.
The department will launch an administrative investigation into the incident once the results of the necropsy are known.
Copyright 2008 The San Diego Union-Tribune