Police are investigating the death of a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois police dog named Forest who was found Friday in the back of his handler's squad car in Alpine, where the temperature soared to more than 100 degrees. A necropsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death.
The dog's handler, a 22-year veteran, has been put on desk duty pending a decision. Two other Belgian Malinois police dogs have died in recent years of an intestinal condition common to the breed, San Diego officials said.
In 2000, a Superior Court jury deadlocked 9 to 3 to acquit a San Diego officer on a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty in the heat-exhaustion death of a police dog. The 7-year-old German shepherd had been left in a police car on a hot day. The judge then dismissed the charge, which had been recommended by the Police Department.