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New Castle cop faces hearing in death of Chico

Published: Mon, July 11, 2011 @ 5:00 a.m.

Staff report


A date has been set for a hearing to determine the fate of a police-dog handler whose dog died after being left unattended in a hot cruiser.

City council will meet at 5:15 p.m. July 20 in council chambers at the city building to decide whether Officer James Hoyland should be fired.

Hoyland handled Chico, a 4-year-old Dutch shepherd. The dog died June 4 after Hoyland left him in the back of his K-9 cruiser at 4 p.m. while he took another vehicle to an extra housing-

project shift. When he came back to the police station to start his regular shift nearly four hours later, he found Chico unresponsive in the back of the crusier. The dog died despite emergency vet care.

Police Chief Tom Sansone has said the car was running, but the air conditioning likely shut off after the car idled for about two hours. He said a device called a hot box, which sounds an alarm and automatically lowers the car windows if it gets too hot inside, was working fine. He said it may not have been turned on.

Hoyland has been on unpaid leave since the dog died. Under civil service law, the city council must decide whether he deserves up to 30 days’ suspension or if he should be fired.

Sansone said the hearing likely will not be open to the public. It is closed unless the officer requests it be open, he said. He said he does not know if Hoyland will do that.

He said the council will probably not make a decision the day of the hearing. He said New Castle Atty. Phillip Clark is moderating the hearing, and the council will wait for his input, he said.

Sansone said the department will probably get a new dog. He said it is waiting to hear what insurance will cover regarding Chico, and there have been donations toward a new dog.

Donations can be made to Chico Memorial Fund, c/o First Commonwealth Bank, 27 E. Washington St., New Castle, Pa., 16101.


1pgurney(296 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I am so glad that I do not live in New Castle, PA. There is no question that the canine officers' death was not intentional. Whether or not this officer is responsible enough to have both human and canine lives placed in his care is the question.

If he can't be trusted to take proper care of his partner, whose life was in his hands - canine or not - then I could not trust him enough to put my life in his hands.

He should be fired, in my opinion.

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2cheybaby2(102 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Its A Animal, A Living Breathing Animal, You Would Not Leave a Child In a Hot Car , So Why Leave a Dog, Stupid People. That Cop Is a Total Idiot. It Was His Responsibility To Care For This Animal/ Partner. I always Said Humans Are The Stupid Ones. Yes He Should Be Fired But Also He Should Never Own a Animal. What a Idiot !

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3musicman77(14 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree. Fire his ass and lock him up for animal cruelty.

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4cheybaby2(102 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree Music Man 100%

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5lisbonkrissy(1 comment)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Honestly if this was anyone besides a cop/ they would be shown on tv in cuffs/maybe we should put him in a car in this heat !!!!!

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6MacGyver15042(1 comment)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

In most places a K-9 officer has the same status as a human officer.
With that being the case, he should be punished as if he were responsible for the negligent death of a police officer.

I say, "Bring back public flogging!"

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7RngrAbn1019(2 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Notice the new peice of evidence,

"He said a device called a hot box, which sounds an alarm and automatically lowers the car windows if it gets too hot inside, was working fine. He said it may not have been turned on."

If this is true, then Hoyland blatantly failed to follow SOP. Therefore, Hoyland is culpable, termination should be the only course of action.
Hoyland had no regard for the safety and well being of his partner, what do you think he attitude is for that of the community?

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8lilgandee(103 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Sorry for your loss New Castle and for Hoyland you should lose your job! Chico looked for your guidance ad respect and you pay him back by leaving him in a position that ultimately lead to his death. He should have been taken home rather than left in a car or at the very least the hot box used.. This saddens me and I don't believe it will be a felony, as it should be. He should have never been in this position, what a loss for the police department, and if any other person would have been responsible the penalty would be harsh so should Hoyland's. Fired definately, jail I hope!

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9hazel114(1 comment)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

a slow and painful death....all because the man he should have been able was not trustworthy. He left his PARTNER in a car in record-breaking heat...and was too incompetent to turn on the safety alarm.

Fire him!

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