By Alexis Stevens
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
WOODSTOCK, Ga. — A 3-year-old police dog died of heat stroke after being left in his handler's patrol car, Woodstock police said this week.
Spartacus, a Belgian Malinois, was found dead inside the patrol car around 9 p.m. Monday at the officer's Pickens County home, according to Brittany Duncan, Woodstock police spokeswoman.
Spartacus, a certified multi-purpose dog, performed narcotics detection, tracking and apprehension for the department, Duncan said.
A necropsy determined the dog's cause of death, Duncan said.
The animal's handler, whose name was not released, is a nine-year veteran of the department and has been a "K-9" handler for seven years, Duncan said.
"After the retirement of his first police K-9, who is now a family pet living with the K-9 handler, the handler is devastated by the loss of his second police K-9," Duncan said in an emailed news release.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Duncan said.
The Pickens County Sheriff's Office, which responded to the officer's home Monday night, also is investigating the dog's death, Sheriff Donnie Craig told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Specific details about the investigation were not being released, a spokesman for the sheriff's office said.
A memorial service for Spartacus will be held at a later date.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2013 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution