Centreville police dog dies from harsh heat
CENTREVILLE (MCT) — Less than 24 hours after he was admitted to an emergency animal hospital, Centreville police dog Altof, who appeared to be in distress due to the heat, was euthanized.
Centreville Police Chief Steven Brown said it's a somber time around the police department because Altof, a German shepherd, was like a member of the family. An investigation will start Monday to determine what caused the dog's health to suddenly deteriorate so rapidly that it needed emergency medical attention.
Altof was taken to Touchette Regional Hospital, then a dog hospital in Edwardsville and finally ended up at an emergency clinic in Collinsville shortly after 5 p.m. Friday.
Brown said doctors from the emergency clinic called Sunday morning to say the dog had taken a turn for the worse. Brown and several other members of the department went there.
"Throughout the night, he started bleeding profusely. I authorized blood transfusions and we all hoped he would pull through, but his body kept shutting down," Brown said. "The doctor said they didn't think he would live through the day. After talking with some other members of the police department and the mayor, we had to make the agonizing decision to have Altof euthanized."
Although he has no official medical report yet, from all indications "it does appear the heat got to him," Brown said about Altof.
There will be meeting with members of the Drop Team, a special narcotic detail in the Centreville Police Department, Monday to find out the sequence of events that led up to Altof needing emergency medical care, Brown said.
It appeared the dog was fine when he left with the narcotics team Friday, Brown said. Altof went out at 7 a.m. with the team to round up individuals they had arrest warrants for. He even traveled with the team to St. Louis where they recovered a stolen vehicle. Temperatures outside Friday reached as high as 106. Altof was transported in a SUV that was specifically designed for him.
Some residents, who called a News-Democrat reporter, said the dog was left inside of the SUV for an extended period of time. Brown said he does not know that to be the case.
"He was an outstanding canine dog. He did so much and worked well because he was well trained and properly nourished and groomed," Brown said. "Now, I will have to see whether the board and the mayor will approve us for another dog or if they will have us to hold off on getting a new dog."
Altof will be cremated and given a burial fitting a police officer, Brown said.
"We want to do a graveside burial. Everyone on the department is taking the loss of this dog very hard," Brown said.
The department's canine officer is Jeremy Ford. Altof cost $6,000 and came from Europe to join the department last fall, Brown said.