A dog recently purchased by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office died after its second week of training, according to Public Information Officer Maj. John Garrison.
The year-old dog was found dead at his handler's home Sunday, July 8. While the cause of death remains under investigation, the Sheriff's Office does not suspect heat exhaustion or abuse, but rather a congenital defect.
The Sheriff's Office lost another K9 due to the condition in 2011.
The dog's body is at a Columbia vet for a necropsy. Garrison said the office has not received the results yet.
The Sheriff's Office pays thousands for each dog in service, but Garrison said the dog remained under warranty with the company that sells and trains the dogs, so there will be no extra cost to the taxpayer.
Garrison said that while the dog was training with its handler in North Carolina, some problems were noted.
"The dog had had some trouble in training. It wasn't able to keep up," Garrison said.
He said the dog died in his kennel at the handler's house sometime between 9:30 p.m. the night before and after church on Sunday. Dogs are kept at handler's homes in order to respond quickly to emergencies. Garrison said the dog had water and shade.
There are six K9s with Dorchester County currently.
"Our dogs are treated better than some of our deputies," Garrison said. "No body took it any harder than the gentleman he was assigned to. You bond with these animals."