K-9 Amigo, a canine serving under the Kingman Police in Kingman, Arizona succumbed to heat-stroke injuries he incurred while tracking two hikers that were lost August 17, 2016.
Amigo was a gorgeous Belgian Malinois, only 3 ½ years of age. He collapsed while tracking two hikers, which he found.
Anyone want to guess if he was given rest breaks? Water? Wore a cooling vest? Checked his gums for staying pink and moist? Checking to see if he was going into cardiovascular shock by noticing his gums turning white? Answers. Anybody? Anybody at all?
Why…. NO. NO. and NO again. They let Amigo die tracking. (Forgetting he’s not a machine, I suppose).
Anyone want to guess if any officers collapsed from thirst or heat stroke while tracking these hikers? Anybody? Anyone at all?
That’s Right!!! NO-ONE.
If a police department cannot take better care of its canines, well, they should have them taken away. We have this shiny new law….just passed on August 2nd, to prosecute handlers that endanger and kill their partners by sheer lack of understanding. If the officers could keep themselves from dropping dead of heat stroke…well then they ought to have been able to keep Amigo alive. This officer needs to be prosecuted under the new law. 10 years in jail. $1000 fine. (that’s too low).
Instead, the usual platitudes are being offered by the police department. Until the people all over this country stand up and say “ENOUGH” TAKE CARE OF YOUR K-9 OFFICERS!!!! NOTHING WILL BE DONE.
I’m just one person. This police department’s website is all platitudes, and how “upset” they are. If they truly were that upset, his handler would be reassigned, and the police officer in charge of the search demoted.
Then they need to get any local veterinarian in, and give these guys a talk on what to look for in K-9 heat injury. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just means they can catch their dog getting into trouble before it becomes a life-threatening spiral.
Over 300+ search and rescue K-9’s were involved in the 9-11 search. NOT ONE DOG DIED. That was 2001. Why is it in 2016 we can’t do at least as well?
K-9 Amigo (“friend”), died on August 17th, after suffering for several hours at the veterinarians office. This dog had only worked one year with the department before they killed him off by negligence. This is not a “mistake”. It’s not a ‘horrible’ “accident”. It was PREVENTABLE. IT WAS NEGLIGENCE.
I’m going to give you all the link to get to the Kingman Police Departments page. Remember: we have that Federal law in place now. Call for it to be enacted. There’s a huge loop in it those of you who are lawyers might try to close. It requires “malice and aforethought” it leaves out the biggie: NEGLIGENCE.
I sincerely doubt that K-9 Amigo’s ‘partner’ officer Adam Simonsen woke up on the 17th and decided he would abuse his dog till he dropped dead. Or all the other handlers this year who did the same thing. Or all the other people who locked their K-9 partners in the back of a hot police car to roast slowly to death in the most awful way imaginable. Negligence. Pure and simple, negligence.
Any K-9 officer should know how to take care of his partner. That means recognizing and attempting to PREVENT heat stroke! Use your head, man. It’s Arizona! Check your dog for overheating every fifteen minutes. Offer water. If he won’t drink, there are ways of getting fluids into him. Find out how. Before one more dog dies. Find out how. Have your tracking dogs wear a cooling vest they’re cheap. You can make them with cast-off pants and phase II cooling sheets available on Amazon. Have a veterinarian come in every four months, and give you a refresher on how to prevent heat stroke, keep paws from getting blistered in the heat…things you already should know, but apparently need a refresher on over and over and over again. Till it sticks in your brain, and you don’t kill your dog from negligence.
This is what the chief of police said on the website about how stricken the department was over the loss of K-9 Amigo. Somehow the words ring false, don’t they, when you know that this was all preventable?:
“This is a very sad occasion. The bond between our handlers and their dogs is very strong and the officer is devastated by the loss. While they are working dogs, these animals also become a close and important part of the individual police officer’s family as well as the rest of the KPD family. Clearly, we have lost one of our own.” stated Robert J. DeVries, Chief of Police.” *courtesy review Journal, AZ.
Now, Mr. Robert J. DeVries…what are you going to DO about it? To prevent another preventable death? Why is it that you lost your beautiful, K-9 officer to negligence? Did the K-9 officers get any teaching on how to prevent heat stroke while in a tracking situation? Do you think perhaps having a veterinarian come and talk to your K-9 officers and teach them how not to kill their partners through negligence might have some benefit?
The officer involved (officer Adam Simonsen) tracking with K-9 Amigo should be re-assigned, never to work in another K-9 unit. The officer in charge of the track, should be reprimanded for not having the tracking dog taken care of with breaks, water, hydration if he refused it, having someone check the dog for shock (check his gums, if they are white, his cardiac situation is grim, get him to the vet immediately). If the human officers didn’t all fall over from heat stroke, then apparently you have a problem of education in your ranks. This was preventable. PREVENTABLE.
You should be ashamed. Not just distraught. ASHAMED. This was a 3 ½ year old dog in his prime. I assume you all are cognizant that it’s HOT in Arizona. Dogs aren’t machines. You can’t work them as though they are. Did this dog have rest breaks? Water? Did anyone at all have a clue that he was getting into distress before he keeled over half-dead, to linger at a pet hospital?
The answer is NO.
And NO again.
You wonder why I’m so angry. This is why. IT”S PREVENTABLE. Your handler and other officers couldn’t take the time or effort to make sure Amigo tracked safely. I suppose like so many other things in our society…it’s no big deal. Kill one, just buy another, right?
I’ve spent this long hot summer listing each canine dying from negligence in their respective departments. The most egregious are the dogs locked in a hot car to suffer a death no sentient creature ought to endure. The second is a lack of education and common sense, to know when your dog is overheating, and STOP tracking before your dog collapses and dies!
Please, in K-9 Amigo’s honor, and all other THIRTEEN dogs that have died at the hands of their ‘partners’, this summer….The partner that was supposed to care for them….go to the Kingman Arizona Police Website, and let them know what you think. Insist that Amigo’s partner be kept from EVER being able to have a K-9 partner again. Insist that the officer in charge of the track is disciplined as well. If some legal-eagle out there can insist the new Federal law be used to prosecute the parties involved, please do, and help save a life or many lives down the line.
The record states that Amigo was doing well, then he suffered ” a sudden medical event” and died at the veterinarians. That “sudden medical event”? Likely, it was his brave, young, stoic heart breaking for the partner that didn’t take care of him. The partner he loved with every breath he had in him. His poor abused heart gave out. He was a 3 1/2 year old dog. He likely died of a heart attack brought on by heat-stroke…after no care on his blistering hike tracking the lost hikers cared enough to make sure he didn’t suffer from heat stroke.
Perhaps the entire Kingman Police force needs to retrace Amigo’s track. In fur coats down to their ankles. A heavy fur toboggan on their heads, furry muckluks on their feet. They need to do it with no stop for rest. They need to keep going with no water to drink. Keep tracking with no-one to care enough to check and see if they were going into cardiac arrest. Maybe then they would understand the hell they put Amigo through.
God Bless you K-9 Amigo. You saved two lives. The hikers who were lost. while you gave up your young, brief life unselfishly, devotedly. As always. You are the shining star of what a fine police officer is. You performed your duties 110%. More than your frail body could endure.
God Bless The Service Dogs.
- * K-9 Amigo photos courtesy Kingman Police Department website*