Officer apologizes after death of K9: ‘I wish I could go back and change that day’

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K9 officer, Beny (Photo from Montville Police Dept.)

K9 officer, Beny (Photo from Montville Police Dept.)

MONTVILLE TWP. Ohio- Montville police say its K9 officer, Beny, died from injuries consistent with heat stroke, while in the back of a police vehicle in the parking lot of the police department on Sept. 28.

According to Montville police, Sgt. Brett Harrison arrived at the station at 10:54 a.m. and began working on paperwork. At 3:13 p.m., Harrison returned to the cruiser and discovered the dog lying lifeless in the rear passenger compartment's kennel.

Police say Harrison didn't leave the windows open and the cruiser was turned off; the temperature at the time Harrison arrived at the station was 69 degrees and it was 79 degrees when the dog was discovered.

Sgt. Harrison was found to have violated policy and procedures. He received a two-week unpaid suspension and a loss of 40 hours of vacation.

The prosecutor for the SPCA of Medina County is reviewing the case to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against the officer.

Harrison released the following statement:

"I want to start by expressing my deepest apology to Montville Township, the Trustees, the citizens, the police department, my fellow officers and to my partner, Beny. I'm sorry to bringing this upon everyone.

I apologize to the trustees and police department for putting you all in this horrible position. I know that it is an unenviable position to have to deal with a situation as sad as this. I'm also sorry for the sadness and grief that you were put into.

Most of all, I want to say I'm sorry to my partner, friend and loving family member Beny. I wish everyday that I could go back and change that day or that I could put myself in your place. You will always be in my heart and I will miss you every second of every day.

I want you all to know that I will never forget any of this. Once again, I am sorry."

In a press release, Chief Terry Grice said, “This is a loss that words cannot describe, and it is very difficult for everyone involved. There is no doubt that this loss will have a lasting impact on Sgt. Harrison and our entire department. Sgt. Harrison cared deeply about Beny. He worked with him 40+ hours a week and Beny lived with Sgt. Harrison and his family when the two were off duty. Sgt. Harrison is overwhelmed with grief, and is taking this loss very hard."

Police say Sgt. Harrison has been an exemplary officer who has never received discipline since being hired onto the department on September 11th, 2007.

Beny joined the department in September 2013.

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