Aron, a 4-year-old dog working in the Houston Police Department K-9 unit, died of heat exhaustion on Tuesday after being left in a patrol vehicle. 

The handler, who has not been named, “left Aron in a running, air-conditioned patrol vehicle, which is a necessary and common practice,” said a statement by HPD.

The K-9 unit car’s special emergency systems — which activate fans, sound the horn and roll down windows once the temperature reaches a certain level — failed, according to the statement released Tuesday.

By the time the officer returned to his patrol car, Aron was “in distress.” The dog died after being transported to an emergency veterinary clinic, according to HPD.

Heat indexes on Tuesday reached roughly 100 degrees, which can be deadly for pets left in vehicles that lack HPD’s special technology. 

In the statement police officials asked the community to keep the dog and his handler in their prayers “as they mourn the loss of Aron.”

“HPD is investigating the tragedy to determine what went wrong and to prevent this from happening in the future,” said the agency. “All HPD vehicles that transport K-9s will immediately be inspected by the vendor to ensure the systems are working properly.”

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Eileen Grench covers public safety for the Houston Landing, where two of her primary areas of focus will be the Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office. She is returning to local...