A Texas deputy has been let go from the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department after he forgot to bring his police dog partner inside Sunday and the dog died, NBC News reports. Latham Roldan—the trainer for Jola, a Belgian Malinois, for three years—"just left the kennel" inside his vehicle in "a case of negligence," a sheriff's spokesman says. For about 20 hours, the dog was trapped in the car in Alice, Texas, where the mercury hit 99 degrees—meaning it was much hotter than that inside the car. Sheriff Oscar Lopez tells KRIS TV that K9 handlers take their dogs home after their shifts to care for them as if they're their own pets. "They work with him, they feed him, take him to [the] veterinarian, but it's their responsibility," he says. He adds in a televised interview with the station that, in this case, "there's no excuses. There's no excuses."
What makes Jola's passing even more tragic: Every police vehicle with a K9 kennel has a special system that's supposed to turn on the AC, roll down the windows, and emit an alarm when temps in the car reach a certain high, Reuters notes, adding the system didn't appear to be activated in this case. The local prosecutor's office is investigating Roldan, who's reportedly never had issues with K9 handling before, enjoyed a bond with Jola, and is said be "very remorseful" by the police captain who fired him, NBC notes. Meanwhile, officers are also taking Jola's death hard. "It's just a sad situation when you lose a member from our department," an official from the sheriff's department tells Reuters, while a posting on the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department Facebook page implores people to "please watch their pets and animals, especially in these extreme temperatures." (Read more Texas stories.)