On July 26, David Hurt of South Carolina’s Columbia Police Department left his almost 2-year-old police dog Turbo in a hot police car for six hours. The act eventually resulted in the police K9’s death.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) August 23, 2018
They should lock him in a car for 6 hours.
— Christopher Byrne (@CBinVAN) August 23, 2018
Hurt—like other K9 officers in attendance—decided to leave his dog in the car while he attended active shooter training. The training session featured many loud sounds which may have been unpleasant for canines.
Though he left the windows down and air conditioning on, Hurt failed to activate the car’s heat alarm.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 26, 2018
Sad senseless tragedy
— Mary Ann Lacey (@MalaceyMern) August 26, 2018
Other police officers with canine partners left their dogs in the car, but frequently visited them to make sure they were alright and were able to go to the bathroom. Hurt never once returned to his vehicle to check on Turbo, shocking many of the other seasoned handlers when the information came to light.
Police dogs are considered to be officers. What he did was negligent homicide. He should be fired. Considering the cost of training a K-9 officer, he should also be fined for the training and replacement.
— DresdenRose? (@DresdenRose) August 24, 2018
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook says Hurt offered no excuse for his negligent behavior:
“He didn’t give any logical reason.”
It was 94 degrees in South Carolina that day and Turbo succumbed to the heat after being left in the car alone for 6 hours. When Hurt returned to the car for the first time, the dog had white foam around its mouth and was acting “listless.”
Recognizing the symptoms of heat stress, Hurt rushed Turbo to a veterinarian.
I’ve seen a lot of dogs out in this heat and it makes me furious how uneducated some owners are. Heat stress can kill your dog within five minutes and a lot of people don’t know the signs so I’m going to list them and what to do;
— Kit (@kitdiprose) July 26, 2018
2 days later, Turbo had to be euthanized due to multiple organ failure.
Chief Holbrook presented the facts of the case to internal police investigators who concluded that Hurt “used terrible judgment but wasn’t criminally negligent and no charges should be filed.”
How is that not criminally negligent?!
— Ronni (@ronsbons) August 24, 2018
Turbo—a bomb-sniffing K9—was Hurt’s first dog. The officer underwent hundreds of hours of training after selection to receive a canine partner.
They had been together for seven months. Turbo’s death represents a loss to the city of around $25,000 in training and various expenses.
I have police officers in my family and I’m tired of police getting away with everything. It wasn’t a tragic mistake for Turbo. He counted on his handler to care for him and now Turbo is dead. But let’s take away the officer’s pay for five days. That makes it all better.
— (((Resisting American))) (@pinnovation) August 25, 2018
Chief Holbrook commented that he did not fire Hurt because the officer “immediately took responsibility for his grave error.” He added:
“It was a mistake of the heart he will have to deal with the rest of his life.”
If I make a “tragic mistake” in my line of work I will be criminally prosecuted not to mention the fact that if I left my dog in a hot car I promise you the police chief wouldn’t be coming to my defense smdh
— Kevin L’argent (@kevinDAtruth88) August 25, 2018
Holbrook continued, noting that Hurt’s family—especially his children—had come to think of Turbo as a member of the family:
“It’s like losing a partner or a family member. It is devastating.”
Animals react more quickly & more severely to heat
This would surely have been covered in the officer’s training, there is no excuse
It is clearly dereliction of duty & moreover, animal cruelty
He should be punished for murdering his K9 partner pic.twitter.com/ESZsnr8wWG
— pinkbanana (@pinkban76914449) August 25, 2018
As a result of his actions, Hurt received a suspension without pay for 5 days and will never be allowed to handle a police dog again.