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Police dog’s death being investigated

Published: Tue, June 7, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.


Chico, a Dutch shepherd, trained to serve as a police dog by Tri-State Canine Services of Trumbull County for the city of New Castle. The dog died Saturday after being left in a cruiser for two hours in 90-degree temperatures.

By Jordan Cohen



Police have launched an internal investigation after the death of Chico, one of its drug and patrol dogs.

According to a source close to the investigation, the dog died Saturday after being left in a cruiser for two hours. According to the Pittsburgh office of the National Weather Service, temperatures in New Castle on Saturday reached a high of 90 degrees.

There was no indication in a police press release whether the car was left running or if the air conditioner was on.

Veterinarian Charlene Arendas, Town and Country Veterinary Hospital, Howland, said, “I would never leave a dog in a car even with the windows cracked, once the temperatures reach 80 degrees. The dog could die in 20 minutes. Even with the window open and the car in sunlight, the dog will try to pant and lower its body temperature.

“There comes a point when their body temperature becomes too high — 109 degrees — and they begin to lose organ functions. There are cases where dogs have died in less than 20 minutes in these conditions,” Dr. Arendas added.

“When it’s close to 80 degrees, and you leave your dog in a car, you are putting it at risk.”

The source identified the dog’s handler as Patrolman James Hoyland. An attempt to reach the officer to comment was unsuccessful.

A news release from police Chief Thomas Sansone said Chico was found unresponsive in the back of the cruiser and died despite efforts of a veterinarian to save him. The chief, through a secretary, declined to make any further comments.

Chico, a 6-year old Dutch shepherd, had been with the police department since late 2009. He had been purchased for $6,000 from Tri-State Canine Services in Trumbull County, a police-dog training company run by Fowler Patrolman Dave Blosser.

“Normally, the going rate for dogs is around $12,000, usually for dogs under the age of 3, but Chico was 4 so we sold him at a lower rate,” Blosser said.

Blosser said Chico was trained as a “dual- protection dog” to handle drug detection and patrols.

“Chico was a unique-type dog, very tough and spot-on in his detection,” Blosser said. “Everybody knew this dog was a machine, and [police] made good arrests with him.”

The dog’s first handler, Patrolman Terry Dolquist, was Chico’s partner until January of this year when his assignment was changed and the police dog was turned over to Hoyland.

Dolquist, contacted by The Vindicator, said he was not permitted to comment on the circumstances behind Chico’s death due to the internal investigation.

Blosser said handlers undergo extensive training before taking charge of a police dog. He said he had worked with Dolquist but that Hoyland had completed his training elsewhere.

A memorial service for Chico has been scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. at Lawrence County Community Action Partnership on Cunningham Avenue.

Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo is out of town and could not be reached to comment.


1InColumbiana(63 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Condolences to Bisser and Dolquist. I reserve opinion on Hoyland until the full story is reported. But this is so sad for Chico, may he rest in peace now.

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2VindyPost(436 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

........Oh, this story just breaks my heart

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3whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Firmly believe that the police officer in charge of the care for this other ( police officer ) should be charged with 1 st degree manslaughter and any other charges related to the injury of an officer. This maybe an accident, regardless this officer is not above the law. Civilians get charged for assaulting these animals so should the handler...

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4redvert(2226 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I think that we will find that there are different rules when the idiot is one of their own.

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5Silence_Dogood(1656 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

HonestAbe I agree with everything that you state should be done to this Officer, BUT everything that redvert said is also true. Nothing will come of this other then the tragic loss of this dog and another cost of $6,000 to $12,000 to the taxpayers.

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6VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

If you follow the rule that you do not leave children or an adult in a locked car without the air on, why would you do so with a dog?

The only possible explanation is the officer forgot he had the dog in the car, but that is a very poor excuse, because the dog is your partner.

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7paulparks(235 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

What a waste of money.

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8mulshopper(2 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

No matter how severe the punishment is, and it should be severe, it will not bring back Chico. I'm sure Chico had his "partners" back many times only to be left in a hot car for 2 hours to die a terrible death. RIP Chico. You certainly have earned your wings.

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9k9girl2223(19 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

This is defiantly very sad for a dog that most likely worked his butt off for this police officer. Maybe this officer should have to sit in a police cruiser hiself in 90 degree heat. Rip Chico!! I am the owner of 6 dogs myself and I would never do this to any of my dogs!! May justice be served!!

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10triumph1(1 comment)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Just think about this same individual who forgot about the dog in his car is aloud to DRIVE A CAR AND HAVE A LOADED GUN .....he should be horse whipped !

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11bj101(1 comment)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I would like to correct the notion some people have that this dog was left in an 80 degree car on an 80 degree day. The interior of this locked car was probably closer to 120 degrees or more with the canine officer Chico, being completely cloaked in a fur coat besides. These officers are trained to be aware of this hazard when citing citizens for child or animal cruelty. What I just can't understand is that it was stated the car the dog died in was actually parked at the rear of the police department when it happened. Not out on a call, etc as someone else thought. So where was everyone else? Weren't there any other police going in or out of the station that may have noticed what was happening? Or were they just feeling so comfortable (out of the unbearable stifling heat) in their nice air-conditioned building, bs..ing the day away -like cops are famous for- that they couldn't bother to be concerned that one of their fellow officers (chico) who would have died protecting THEM, was fighting for his life and slowly burning a horrible death in that car while no one even cared. He was surely waiting for the people he loved to come save HIM as he would them, but there was no one there for him. Let this also be a lesson to others who drag their pets along in the name of love on hot or cold days. I love my pets too....enough to leave them home where they belong and where I know they are safe from situations like this. Everywhere I go, I see people leaving their animals in cars with windows up or cracked a little, thinking they are just going to run in a store and be out in a minute. That is a joke. Who are you kidding! No one knows how long it is going to take to check out or if they are going to run into someone they know...etc. etc. Unfortuntly a few minutes is all it takes. Have you ever sat in a hot car with a window cracked a couple inches. Try it some day, in a fur coat to boot. You'll soon learn how hot it is. Please people, leave your pets at home if you are going somewhere you can't take them in with you. That is true love.

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