Georgia K9 officer dies after being left in hot car; sergeant demoted

By Morgan Gstalter

A Georgia sheriff’s K-9 has died after his handler left the dog in a hot patrol car for hours, leading to the sergeant’s demotion.

Monroe County Sgt Willie Barkley has been demoted to deputy and was suspended for leaving his K9 partner, Khan, (pictured together, left) in a hot car, resulting in the dog’s death

Monroe County Sheriff Brad Freeman said Sgt. Willie Barkley, now a deputy, was working overnight on May 13 when he left K-9 officer Khan asleep in the car while he finished up reports in the driveway of his home. 

In the early hours of May 14, Barkley went inside the house and left the four-year-old Belgian Malinois in the patrol car, instead of taking the dog to his pen in the yard.

Monroe County, Georgia Sheriff backs decision to demote deputy responsible for K-9’s death

The vehicle is equipped with a device that alerts the handler if the temperature inside the car gets too high, but Freeman told 13WMAZ that Barkley had unplugged it because he was going to be off for the next three days. 

‘You can spend all the money in the world on technology but there’s still a human factor,’ Freeman said. 

When Barkely woke up hours later to feed his four-legged partner, he found Khan dead inside the patrol car.

Khan, who had no health issues, had been with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office since 2018, working drug and tracking operations

‘There were no health issues with the dog. Dog was healthy. Although it wasn’t a hot day, the temperature was around 79 that day.

A lot of people don’t realize it might be 79 outside, which is not hot for us, but in the car, it can go up 20 degrees. It could be 90+ degrees in that car. Therefore, no one can handle that — human or animal,’ Freeman told the station.  

Monroe County Sheriff Brad Freeman, pictured left with Barkley, called Khan’s death ‘an avoidable accident’

Freeman called the dog’s death ‘an avoidable accident.’

Freeman said Barkley was demoted to deputy and moved from field operations to working at the jail. He was also suspended for five days without pay.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Anna Lewis said Khan has been with the department since 2018, working in drug and tracking operations.

The Internal Affairs Division of the sheriff’s office determined the dog’s death was an accident.

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