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Godspeed, brothers and sisters. You fought the good fight. Now rest in peace…
Johnstown, N.Y. -- Tragedy struck the Fulton County Sheriff's Department Wednesday as Bosco, a K-9 deputy, died of heat exhaustion in a deputy's vehicle.
"He was left in an air-conditioned car out in front of the office, as everyone does, and for some reason, the air-conditioning unit shut down," said Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey today.
Bosco was the partner of Deputy Scott Everson, Lorey said. As a result of the tragedy, the Sheriff's Department has changed its policy regarding the remaining two dogs on its staff.
"All of the dog handlers will now be required to keep their animals at their side instead of leaving them unattended," Lorey said. "The really sad part about Bosco is [Everson] wanted the dog so badly he bought and trained the dog himself. The K-9s actually become part of the officer's family, and this has been hard on all of them. He has small children, and they're taking the loss very hard."
So far, Lorey said there are no services planned for Bosco. He also said there appears to be no reason for the mechanical failure of the air-conditioning unit.
"I think it's a freak thing," he said.
Sharon Hayes, director of the Fulton County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the tragedy points out the dangers to animals in the summer.
"In the Sheriff's Department case, they have no choice because they have to have their dogs with them everywhere," Hayes said. "That was just a horrible accident. But for the average person that doesn't have to have their dog with them, they should just leave them home unless you're going to the groomer or to the veterinarian."
Hayes said she has had to rescue two dogs from sweltering vehicles in recent years, and she encouraged citizens to call either the Sheriff's Department or the New York State Police if they see a dog left unattended in a vehicle on a hot day.
"Even if it's for a few minutes, and even if the window is cracked, it doesn't matter," Hayes said. "It becomes an oven quickly."
If a dog appears to be suffering from heat exhaustion, Hayes suggested getting the dog to shade, giving it small amounts of water - or ice cubes - and calling a veterinarian immediately.
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