A police officer has been charged in the death of K9 officer Totti.
The death of a drug dog that was left in a hot car has prompted an administrative shake-up and other changes designed to safeguard the health of canines used by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
The changes were announced Wednesday, less than a day after state police filed an animal neglect charge against Sgt. Chad Holland, 40, of Lock Haven, over the July 7 death of Totti, the 2-year-old Labrador Retriever in his care.
Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said in a statement that changes instituted because of the dog’s death include the reassignment of Holland and the captain who supervised him to posts at the state prison at Rockview. “A senior DOC officer with military K9 experience has been assigned to lead the Drug interdiction Unit,” Wetzel said.
He said a new written policy has been implemented regarding the care and handling of dogs that are in vehicles. That directive bars handlers from leaving dogs alone in vehicles “for any reason,” and requires them to stay in “pet friendly” hotels while on overnight assignments. Signs will be placed in all K9 vehicles reminding handlers not to leave their animals unattended.
His department has bought portable kennels for every prison where the dogs will be housed during down time, Wetzel said. Each handler has been issued a portable kennel as well.
K9 vehicles will be fitted with window tint and rain guards to help keep them cooler in hot weather, Wentzel said, and consideration is being given to equipping the vehicles with extreme weather alarm equipment.
“These K9s are valued members of the DOC law enforcement team and we are committed to keeping them safe in our care,” Wetzel said.
Between babies and toddlers left in hot cars and dogs left to die too, one might ask what the hell is wrong with people today.