There are new details that charges are possible against a Gulf Shores police officer who left his police dog in a hot patrol car, leading to the animal’s death. Corporal Josh Coleman’s actions are currently under investigation and formal charges are possible, our sister station WKRG has learned. The investigation will be brought to a Baldwin County Grand Jury for review.
As we reported on Monday, Coleman left his community relations dog “Mason” inside his vehicle on Thursday after attending the Hurricane Prep conference in Gulf Shores. According to a press release, Coleman forgot Mason was in the vehicle. Upon discovering Mason was still inside, the dog — who was not an enforcement K-9, but used instead for community relations — was in a deteriorated state, requiring immediate medical attention.
Coleman rushed Mason to a local veterinarian’s office, where he was then transported to a facility in Pensacola for extensive treatment. However Mason went into respiratory failure Friday night and passed away. “This situation has been devastating for Cpl. Coleman and his family and we hope that they are able to work through their understandable emotions. This is a tragic occurrence that has left the entire organization mourning a terrible loss,” a statement in the press release read.
Because Mason was a community relations dog and not an enforcement dog with the Gulf Shores Police Department, Corporal Coleman’s vehicle didn’t carry equipment to relieve a dog from prolonged heat exposure. “Mason was not an enforcement K-9. Enforcement K-9‘s spend a good deal of time in their handler’s vehicles, so those vehicles are equipped with remote heat alarms, water bowls., and other protective measures. Because Mason’s duties did not include long periods in a vehicle, those protective measures were not available in his handler’s car.”