From: Dayton Daily News
MERCER COUNTY, Ohio —A Mercer County sheriff’s deputy suspended in the death of a K-9 unit that died after being left in a hot cruiser said he accepts responsibility for what happened.
Deputy Chad Fortkamp has been suspended for 45 work days without pay after he left his Zak in his patrol car last week while he completed the reconstruction of a traffic crash at the office. That suspension will mean about $6,500 in lost salary, said Sheriff Jeff Grey.
Making a statement, then leaving the room where Sheriff Grey was holding a press conference Deputy Fortkamp stated, “I just want to say I take full responsibility for my actions that caused the death of Zak. I would give anything to be able to brink Zak back, to be back with me. I am sorry for my actions I have done not only to the Sheriff’s Office, and to the community, most importantly to Zak. I will always love him and miss him, ” said a teary eye Fortkamp. He then left the room with no questions allowed by the media.
Fortkamp has been on the department for 11 years. The only written reprimands have to done with a traffic crash on ice while responding to an injury crash in the county, and for taking an extended break longer than allowed. Grey noted that as Sheriff he is hard to work for, and said for other Sheriff’s those would have been verbal reprimands, not written ones.
The Mercer County prosecutor will decide if any charges will be pursued.
Zak, who suffered from a pre-existing heart condition, is believed to have died after being aggravated by the temperature inside the car, according to an necropsy. The K-9 Unit’s veterinarian stated that even a perfectly healthy dog may have not survived the heat.
“When at the office, the car is either left running with air conditioning on or Zak comes into the building,” said Grey. “The car was not running and it appears that Zak was overcome by the heat.”
The sheriff’s office plans to suspend the K-9 program until further notice after losing two dogs within the last three years.
Read more: Dayton Daily News