A Woodstock Police officer will be suspended and receive a $6,000 pay cut after his K-9 partner was left in a patrol car in June and died of a heat stroke.
Officer Chad Berry, a nine-year veteran of the Woodstock Police Department, will be suspended for 10 days without pay and has been removed from the department’s K-9 program, costing him $6,000 a year in special duty pay, Sgt. Randy Milligan, spokesman for the police department, said Friday.
Berry found his 3-year-old K-9 partner, Spartacus, dead in his patrol car outside his home in Jasper on June 17, and both the Woodstock Police Department and the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office began investigations into the death.
“A necropsy requested by the Woodstock Police Department determined that Spartacus’ probable cause of death was heat stroke,” Milligan said in a news release Friday. But he said, “There were no other indications of injury, maltreatment or abuse.”
Berry, who left Spartacus in the car while attending to his children, has also been hit with a $325 fine from Pickens County for cruelty to animals, Milligan said.
Milligan said the officer has been reassigned to the city’s traffic enforcement unit.
A spokesperson for Woodstock Police said in June that Berry was “devastated by the loss.”
Milligan said the dog’s death has led the department to take a closer look at how its K-9s are cared for.
“The tragic death of Spartacus prompted a comprehensive review of all canine policies and procedures,” he said.
The department has added more measures for the safety of its dogs and is in the process of upgrading heat alarms in its K-9 patrol cars in hopes of avoiding another death, Milligan said.
Spartacus was a Belgian Malinois and worked in narcotics detection and tracking.