Two Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services K-9 dogs died from heat exhaustion last week when a vehicle's air conditioner failed at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
A bloodhound, Kojack, and Dingo, a Dutch Shepherd, were taking part in operations Tuesday to transfer prisoners from the facility ordered closed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
"The dogs were in a car where the air-conditioning system malfunctioned," said department spokesman Gerard Shields, adding that one dog died at the scene; the other died the next day. Both died from heat exhaustion, he said.
The agency confirmed the deaths when The Baltimore Sun asked about the dogs.
The department is investigating whether any policy or procedures were violated, Shields said. He did not know how long the dogs had been in the car or how long the dogs had worked for the agency.
"The handlers are very distraught," Shields said. "These dogs provide an incredible service to the department in making our facilities safer. They are part of our department family."
Shields said the deaths didn't happen Thursday — the day Stephen T. Moyer, the state corrections secretary, led a tour with reporters of the now-closed facility. Hogan ordered the Men's Detention Center closed last month, and corrections officials moved the final detainees out last week.
Kojack and Dingo were not the agency's first dogs to die on duty this year.
In April, a service dog died after a state vehicle caught fire on Interstate 68 in Allegany County en route to a Cumberland complex, the Associated Press reported. The dog had recently completed training for contraband detection and patrol.