- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -

« News Home

Cherishing Officer Chico

Published: Fri, June 10, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

By jeanne starmack



They stretched for blocks in front of the old Ben Franklin School on Cunningham Avenue on Thursday morning — cruisers for nearly 50 police K-9 units.

Handlers and their dogs from a 99-mile radius around the city had come to pay tribute to Chico, the New Castle Police Department’s 6-year-old Dutch shepherd who died Saturday evening after being in the back of a hot cruiser.

There is an internal department investigation into how Chico, whom the department had for two years, came to die in the care of his own handler, Officer James Hoyland. Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua

Lamancusa also is conducting a criminal investigation.

In the school’s auditorium, Police Chief Tom Sansone did not say much about the circumstances that led to the dog’s death. It was a time to remember Chico and talk about his service to the community, which Sansone did along with a previous handler of Chico’s, Officer Terry Dolquist.

Sansone did confirm some facts later for the press.

Chico was in the cruiser for three hours and 45 minutes, he said.

Chico’s handler, whom he would not officially identify as Hoyland, was working an extra shift on a housing-project patrol from 4 to 8 p.m. At 8 p.m., he was supposed to start his regular shift.

He went to his housing-project patrol in a different vehicle, leaving Chico in their K-9 cruiser in the police station parking lot.

He left the car and its air conditioning running, Sansone said. But after two hours of idling, the air-conditioning system shut down. The car is equipped with a “hot box,” Sansone said. It sounds an alarm and lowers the windows if the car gets too hot. He said the hot box did not malfunction but would not say whether it was activated. The windows were up when the dog was found.

Sansone said that when Chico’s handler found him at 7:45 p.m., he “went wild.”

“He rushed to get water and immediately went to a veterinarian,” Sansone said. Chico died at the vet’s.

Sansone said the department’s policy is that dogs are not supposed to be left in cruisers for long periods of time without their handlers. “Procedures are the dog should stay home in his kennel,” Sansone said.

Hoyland, who was Chico’s handler since January, is on unpaid leave during the investigations.

He was not at the memorial service — he’d come by earlier, Sansone said.

Instead, it was Dolquist who remembered his time with Chico before he’d transferred from the K-9 unit to different duties in the department. He recalled their training sessions at Tri-State Canine Services in Trumbull County, Ohio, where the city bought Chico with $6,000 the community donated, and their first days on the job together.

Chico, who was the department’s fourth dog, would never win any beauty contests.

“My first reaction was, God, that’s an ugly dog,” Dolquist said. “He looked like a hyena” with one floppy ear and a look like he would “take my face off,” he added.

“Then, I learned he’d been in Iraq,” Dolquist said, explaining that the dog had been there with a private security company. About the same time, Dolquist also was serving in Iraq.

In training, Chico was stubborn. “He had a high drive,” Dolquist said. He would lunge out and nip in frustration as if to say, “‘Hey, I don’t know what you want me to do — pay attention,’” Dolquist said, adding he almost gave up on the dog.

Dec. 16, 2009, was Chico’s first day on the job. One of their first arrests, Dolquist said, was of a burglar who’d smashed into a vending machine in a barbershop.

“We tracked him. It was pitch black. Chico got a scent and took off,” Dolquist said. Then, the tight leash suddenly went limp, and Dolquist tripped over something. He turned on his light and saw Chico on top of the suspect. “He was looking at me with that one floppy ear saying, ‘Let’s do this,’” Dolquist said.

Dolquist read a poem called “Guardians of the Night,” which describes a police dog’s loyalty to its handler.

“I will protect you with my last breath when all others have left you,” he read. “Know that each day at your side is my reward.”

Dolquist will keep Chico’s cremated remains for now, and eventually, the police department will keep them at a new police station on North Street. The department will move there in August.

But before the remains would go to safekeeping, there was one thing left to do.

Dolquist carried them from the auditorium to the cruisers outside, and in a 15-minute procession through the city, Chico had his last patrol.


1CharTres(18 comments)posted 5 years ago

Officer Hoyland should be left inside a hot, running car with all the windows up and no water. What kind of animal training did this officer have? What was he doing for 3 hours and 45 minutes? Lets see if this gets swept under a rug? What a shame.
I very rarely bring my dogs with me in the car; they are much more comfortable at home. They enjoy walks more than car rides.

Suggest removal:

2timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years ago

Thought all K-9 units were equipped with automatic door openers and rear AC ! Our did the cop miss that class ! Poor dog ! And INGNORANT COP !

Suggest removal:

3luvlove(9 comments)posted 5 years ago

Heartbreaking on both sides...

Suggest removal:

4captdinger(110 comments)posted 5 years ago

This guy ought to be put in the same situation as Chico and then when he gets hot and thirsty, tighten up h is collar. What an a_ _ hole.

Suggest removal:

5UNCOMMONSENSE(622 comments)posted 5 years ago

It is ridiculous the amount of time and money spent giving this dog a "funeral".
Surprised that they did not have calling hours at DeCarbo or Cunningham Funeral homes, complete with a casket and hearse.

Suggest removal:

6peacelover(838 comments)posted 5 years ago

It was a funeral for a trained police officer. not "just a dog".

Suggest removal:

7UNCOMMONSENSE(622 comments)posted 5 years ago

HonestAbe..you are a prime example of not being able to fix stupid. The treatment of the dog and the "funeral" are two different things. Animals should be treated with respect and not abused, however they should not be equated with humans.

Suggest removal:

8peacelover(838 comments)posted 5 years ago

Chico served in Iraq as well as being a police dog. He probably had a hundred times more bravery in his little paw then any of these negative posters. I'll bet Uncommon is the first one to complain when our troops coming home from Iraq don't get any respect. So what do you people propose we do, put the dog in a Hefty bag and throw him in a Dumpster?

Unreal. I sure would like to know what the investigation into Chico's death comes up with.

Suggest removal:

9charms(228 comments)posted 5 years ago

HonestAbe in post #6 hit the nail on the head. This event was pure PR - a waste of time & money. (Were the cops there getting paid?) How many taxpayers died that same day in the community with little or no fanfare? Sorry to all you dog fanatics, but this whole "memorial service" would be funny if it weren't so tragically ridiculous. I feel like I live in India - and a cow died. Yikes!

Suggest removal:

10Ginger76(178 comments)posted 5 years ago

I can only hope that out of this tragedy, new policies and procedures will be put into place concerning k-9 officers.
To leave a dog unattended for 3 hours and 45 minutes in a car, is incredible. I can't believe that this is part of a policy. This is a living breathing trained Police officer.

Suggest removal:

11UNCOMMONSENSE(622 comments)posted 5 years ago

HonestAbe..Abortion is the law of the land but that does not make it right.

Peacelover there is a difference between the life of a soldier and that of a dog.

Geezzz..it wouldn't surprise me if you nuts suggest that this dog's family should receive a pension from the city of New Castle!

Suggest removal:

12proud2beMommy(2 comments)posted 5 years ago

If that dog saved your life or help capture some criminal that involved you, I bet you would have a different perspective!

Dogs are living creatures with feelings too!

Suggest removal:

13TonyL(44 comments)posted 5 years ago

Where was the FOP when you need them or police dogs don't count? Poor Chico, may he rest in peace!!

Suggest removal:

14peacelover(838 comments)posted 5 years ago

Post #16 and Post #18

Right On!

Suggest removal:

15paulparks(235 comments)posted 5 years ago


I'm sorry the dog died the way it did too... but Pullease! - Give me a break!

Suggest removal:

16CharTres(18 comments)posted 5 years ago

The bottom line: Community donations paid $6,000.00 for Chico. I have no idea of the cost of the funeral services.....how about having Officer Hoyland pay for all this? Also, he should not be permitted to have a K-9 as his partner again.

Suggest removal:

17paulydel(1598 comments)posted 5 years ago

Some of you are real Aholes. This dog did not only serve his country but was a public servent in a community thats more than I can say for some of you. If the box didn't malfunction then why were the windows closed? If the officer was going to be gone any length of time he shouldn't have brought the dog or checked on him from time to time.

Suggest removal:


HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2016 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes