K-9 Named Wix Dies After Air Conditioning Fails in Police Car

The 3-year-old dog was an explosive detection specialist.

Wix was placed in the squad car with the engine running and air conditioning on by his handler, Deputy Lemberger, this past Wednesday, the sheriff's office said in a news release today. Lemberger and Wix, who specialize in explosive detection, were on special assignment at the PGA Championship, the office explained.

Lemberger conducted checks on his dog throughout the morning, but when he came back around 12:30 p.m., Wix was "non-responsive" in the back of the squad car, and the air conditioning unit was not functioning properly, the sheriff's office said. The car was equipped with a K-9 heat alarm that didn't activate when the "air conditioning unit failed," the office added.

The max temperature on Wednesday was 79 degrees Fahrenheit and the mean temperature was 66 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Weather Underground. However, temperatures rise much more rapidly inside cars than outdoors, so if a car is left in 80-degree Fahrenheit weather for over an hour, the inside of a car can be 125 degrees or higher.

Wix, who was a male Malinois had been a member of the Brown County Sheriff's Office since April 2014 and had been Lemberger's partner for his whole time with the department, the office said.

"Wix was a valuable member of this agency and community and will be sadly missed by all," the sheriff's office said. "Our thoughts are with Deputy Lemberger while he copes with the loss of his K-9 partner."

The sheriff's office added that the department was conducting a thorough investigation into the incident and that Bay East Animal Hospital was assisting to determine the cause of death.

Brown County Sheriff's Office did not respond to ABC News' calls seeking additional information, such as what the temperature inside the car was when Lemberger found Wix.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events