Pa. Corrections investigating death of drug dog left in hot car

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (WHTM) – The state Department of Corrections confirms one of its drug detection dogs died after it was left inside a hot car during last week’s heatwave.

(Pa. Department of Corrections)
(Pa. Department of Corrections)

Totti, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador, was at the Rockview state prison for training when the incident occurred Thursday, Corrections Department spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said in a statement.

McNaughton said when the handler realized Totti was accidentally left in the car, he and others began emergency care. She said Totti was conscious when he was hosed down, carefully cooled with ice, and taken to a vet, but he did not survive.

She said Totti’s death “has been very devastating for everyone involved.”

The Associated Press reported Totti was in the vehicle for more than two hours.

Corrections spokeswoman Amy Worden told the AP the dog’s handler had stored training items in the vehicle at the end of the exercise and didn’t realize that the dog was locked in the car.

The department’s Office of Special Investigations and Intelligence began a full investigation on Tuesday.

McNaughton said this is the first such incident since the inception of the department’s Drug Interdiction Unit in 1995. She said the department has 22 handlers and dogs and is in the process of moving its K-9 training facility to Rockview.

She said the director of the Drug Interdiction Unit has met with all handlers to review the care and handling of dogs.

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