COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County Sheriff’s Office this week was still awaiting the results of an investigation to determine how a K-9 officer died after it was found in one of the agency’s fleet vehicles in late August.
A recent statement from the sheriff’s office said it will release information to the public “once the investigation is completed” about the death of K-9 officer Tom-Tom, a German shorthaired pointer.
University of Georgia experts are conducting the death investigation called a necropsy — an autopsy done on an animal.
A community activist recently claimed on his website that sources within the sheriff’s office alleged the K-9 officer died from heat exhaustion both from neglect by its handler and because of engine trouble which led to an aging vehicle’s air conditioner shutting off with the dog inside.
However, the sheriff’s office on Sept. 1 stated the the vehicle in which the K-9 officer was left “was running, and the air conditioner appeared to be properly functioning.”
“The death of K-9 Tom-Tom was an unfortunate circumstance that has greatly impacted our agency and community,” the sheriff’s office posted on its Facebook page Sept. 1.
Tom-Tom had worked for the agency for two years and was trained to detect explosives, stated an Aug. 31 posting on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.
Sheriff Ezell Brown said Tom-Tom was assigned to the Newton County Superior Court “where he was loved by the judges, court personnel, and visitors.”
“The death of K-9 Tom-Tom has greatly impacted our agency. He was loved and cherished by all who worked with him and by those he served,” Brown said. “I thank K-9 Tom-Tom for his service to our Newton County community and the state of Georgia.
Brown said his “sincere condolences and prayers go out” to handler Deputy Tremelle Riley “and his family who have lost a member of their family.”