DUPLIN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Duplin County Sheriff’s K-9 died last month after sitting in a hot squad car all night.
The sheriff disciplined Kela’s handler, but the punishment is not as harsh as some people think it should be.
“I just think it’s crazy, because they get on everyone else for leaving their animals in the car and dying, and they want to throw them in jail, but they can’t do nothing about their own officer that kills one of their K9s,” Duplin County resident Michael Foss said.
Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace says Dep. Kevin Williams was getting off duty August 19 when he got a call that his child was sick. Distracted, Williams left his K-9 Kela in the hot car overnight. She was found dead the next day.
“While it was a mistake, I’m sure he did not intend to do that, it is a tragic loss, you know financial loss for the county, as well as it creates a bad situation here that we’ve got to deal with,” County Manager Mike Aldridge said.
Aldridge says he just found out about the dog’s death, three weeks after it happened. So why were he, and the community not informed sooner?
“That’s a good question, and I don’t know the answer to that,” Aldridge said.
Wallace, who would not talk on camera, says he does not report to Aldridge. In retrospect, he says maybe he should have let the media know sooner, but he says he was busy dealing with a devastated deputy, and had already given the facts of the case to the DA.
As of now, Williams is not charged with any crime because the da said there was no willful criminal intent, but that could change pending an investigation.
Wallace says Williams is suspended without pay. And he says if and when he returns, Williams will not be on the roads or working with any K-9s.
We asked if the officer would have to pay for a new dog. Wallace says right now all options are on the table.