K-9 Officer dies after being left in hot car

A Bennettsville police officer is on administrative leave after his K-9 partner died, according to Chief Larry McNeil.

McNeil says the officer left Tank, a black Labrador Retriever, in a car with the engine not running and the windows rolled up, Monday.

The officer returned to the vehicle and saw Tank was not doing well, so he took the dog to a veterinarian.

Tank died Tuesday morning.

The officer's name isn't being released, but McNeil says he's a veteran K-9 handler and will be disciplined pending the outcome of the investigation.

He says the officer is devastated by Tank's death.

"Tank's partner is devastated at the loss of Tank. That dog just wasn't the property of the City of Bennettsville Police Department, it was a part of the officer's family. He stayed with them 365 days a year. The dog went on vacations with him and his family," said Chief Larry McNeil.

McNeil says Tank's death has hurt the entire police department.

A veterinarian is expected to determine Tank's cause of death and how long the dog was inside the officer's car.

The Humane Society of Marlboro County issued a statement to WPDE NewsChannel 15 on the death of the K-9 Officer.

"It's been brought to the attention of the Marlboro County Humane Society. Very tragic loss. And until the investigation is complete and we have all the details, we can't take a position," said Kenny Hinson with the Humane Society of Marlboro County.

Tank was four years old and had worked with Bennettsville police for three years.