AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Officials in a Texas county fired a deputy whose police dog died after he left it in his patrol car for more than 20 hours on a hot day, the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Office said on Wednesday.
The office has referred the case to the district attorney for the county west of Corpus Christi for possible prosecution.
The dog handler, Latham Roldan, is thought to have let the dog, Jola, in the patrol car earlier this week without activating any of the systems the sheriff's office has in place to protect dogs from the heat, the office said.
Roldan said he forgot the dog was in the car, the sheriff's department said. Roldan was not immediately available for further comment.
Recent temperatures in the area have been in the mid-90s.
"Policies were violated and he was terminated," an official with the sheriff's department said.
"It's just a sad situation when you lose a member from our department," the official said referring to the dog.
The patrol units with kennels for police dogs have a system to turn on air conditioning, roll down windows and sound an alarm when temperatures in the units reach a certain level. The office said it appeared the system was not activated in Roldan's unit.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)