Georgia deputy demoted after K-9 officer’s death in hot car

K-9 officer Khan (Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

A sheriff’s deputy in Georgia has been demoted after the death of a police dog he was handling.

Monroe County Sheriff Brad Freeman said Sgt. Willie Barkley, now a deputy, was working overnight May 13 when he left K-9 officer Khan asleep in the car while he was working on reports. Barkley then went home and left Khan in the car. When he awoke the next day, he found Khan dead in the car, WMAZ-TV reported.

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.

"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’s Office spokeswoman Anna Lewis said Barkley has been with the department since 2018. Khan was 4 years old, she said.

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

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