OCEANA, WV (WVNS) — A local K-9 officer died after they were reportedly left in a hot police cruiser in July.
According to information from Chief Tyler Dunigon with the Oceana Police Department, an unnamed Oceana police officer is no longer with the department after his K-9 partner, K-9 Bauer, died from being left in a hot car on July 4, 2023.
Chief Dunigon spoke with 59News and provided details into what happened.
The unnamed officer, after reportedly working a 12-hour shift consisting of multiple trips from Wyoming County to Raleigh County and being awake for longer than 24 hours, returned to the department in Oceana to finish his paperwork.
While inside, the officer reportedly fell asleep, leaving K-9 Bauer in the car. According to Chief Dunigon, it was a lower temperature when the officer left the dog in the cruiser and the back windows were opened slightly. However, once the officer woke up, the temperature had risen significantly and he returned to the cruiser to find K-9 Bauer dead.
The officer was immediately suspended for three days without pay and an internal investigation was opened. According to both Chief Dunigon and Oceana Mayor Tom Evans, the officer officially resigned as of Wednesday, August 9, 2023.
The complete findings of the Oceana Police Department’s investigation are going to be brought in front of the Oceana City Council on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
Mayor Evans said that while this was under devastating circumstances, he was pleased with the immediate action taken to investigate the incident.
Chief Dunigon stated that the Wyoming County Prosecutor’s Office and West Virginia State Police have opened their own outside investigation in partnership into the K-9 officer’s death. He said his entire department will be cooperative in any way they can throughout the entire investigation.