An Oklahoma sheriff's deputy has been fired after his K-9 partner died of what investigators believe to be heat exhaustion, according to multiple reports.
Sources told KFOR the dog, K-9 Officer Bak of the Stephens County Sheriff's Office, was left in Deputy Matthew Peck's cruiser before Peck was scheduled to be off work and that Peck didn't find the dog until after he returned to duty.
"He smelled the dead animal while on his way to court one morning," the news station reported. "Sources said Bak was left inside the deputy's car for 36 hours."
Peck and Bak, 8, were partnered for four years. The German Shepard had served two years before joining Peck, The Duncan Banner reported.
Sheriff Wayne McKinney told the newspaper Bak was found dead Aug. 5. A subsequent internal investigation led to Peck's arrest.
Deputies are investigating Bak's death and have turned over preliminary reports to the district attorney's office to determine whether charges will be filed against Peck, according to the Banner.
"It's a sad day around here for all of us," McKinney told the newspaper. "We all like our animals. I've got several, personally, of my own, but these dogs that work day-to-day with some of our deputies are their partners. You have the utmost responsibility to take care of those dogs as a K-9 handler."
Bak's name will be added to a memorial for fallen deputies outside the Stephens County Courthouse.
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