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      K9 officer left in hot car died from a heat stroke

      Bennettsville police K9 Officer Tank died as a result of a heat stroke, according to a veterinarian's report released Thursday, said Chief Larry McNeil.

      Tank was left in the patrol car by its handler Monday outside the Bennettsville Police Department.

      The engine was off and the windows rolled up.

      The officer stopped by the department to do some paper work and stayed longer than he anticipated, according to McNeil.

      When he got back to his car and realized Tank was in need of medical attention, the officer immediately took him to the veterinarian office in Blenheim where the dog died the next day.

      Tank's partner has been on leave since the incident.

      His name isn't being released.

      McNeil says he will release how he intends to discipline the officer Thursday afternoon.

      Many in the community have called for the officer to be fired and even charged with Animal Neglect.

      Tank, a Black Labrador Retriever, was laid to rest in a tiny gray casket in an area near the department's training grounds off of State Street, Tuesday morning.

      Chief McNeil gave the eulogy at the funeral and said Tank's death has affected everyone at his department.

      "Difficult and heart-wrenching in a sense because it's never expected. This untimely death of Tank is one that's going to stay with the department. He won't be forgotten," said Chief McNeil.

      The officer who handled Tank is overwhelmed with grief, McNeil said.

      "I don't think people realize how much and how it's going to affect his partner. And how it's going to affect that family because when you're with someone for 365 days a year 24 hours a day, just about everyday, it has an impact on your life after. And we realize that with Tank's partner I don't think anybody would be more hurt right now than he and his family, " explained McNeil.

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

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

      "He (Tank) never realized the job he performed for us and the community was probably one of the most dangerous jobs that anybody would want to have," McNeil said.

      Tank is remembered as a loveable dog who loved his handler and his job with the Bennettsville Police Department.