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Cop Left K9 Partner in Truck for 22 Hours

Sgt. Dallas Wingate of Boone County, Iowa, resigned after death, could still face charges
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2022 11:00 AM CST

A police dog in Iowa died in September after being left in a deputy's patrol vehicle for 22 hours. Court documents reveal the Boone County Sheriff's K9 known as Bear was found dead in the truck of his partner, Sgt. Dallas Wingate, who could face charges, around 8pm on Sept. 2. The high temperature that day was 89 degrees, meaning the temperature inside the vehicle could've reached 135 degrees within an hour, an expert tells the Ames Tribune. Wingate, an experienced K9 handler who joined another K9 partner in locating the suspect in the murder of Iowa State University golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena in 2018, was put on administrative leave before resigning from the sheriff’s office on Sept. 8.

The Story County Attorney's Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating Bear's death and will determine whether Wingate faces charges. The deputy said he put Bear in the truck around 10pm on Sept. 1 because the K9 was barking at a deer, according to a search warrant released Dec. 1. It was only when he went out to feed his other dogs in an outdoor run the following evening that he remembered where Bear was, Iowa DCI Major Crime Unit Special Agent Marc Ridout wrote, per the Tribune.

After finding Bear dead, Wingate called Sheriff Gregg Elsberry, who took Bear to a local veterinary hospital. A veterinarian then took Bear's body to Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy. State investigators declined to release the results—including the cause of death, presumed to be heatstroke—citing the ongoing investigation, per the Tribune. However, the Iowa DCI tells KCCI that the investigation has, in fact, wrapped up. Regardless of the findings, Elsberry will leave the department at the end of this year, two years before his term is up. He followed Wingate in submitting his resignation on Nov. 9. No reason has been given publicly. (More K-9 stories.)

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