A Brevard County judge has dismissed an animal cruelty charge against a Sebastian police officer in connection with the death of his K-9 partner, the department said.
Officer Eric Antosia found his K-9 partner Diesel dead after the dog was left for several hours in Antosia’s patrol car parked in front of his home in 2017. A necropsy performed on Diesel by a veterinarian determined he died from heat stroke , records show.
Evidence entered into the case showed the “Hot-N-Pop” heat indicator in Antosia’s patrol vehicle did not go off. The heat indicator is supposed to open rear windows and set off sirens and flashing lights in the vehicle to indicate to the officer when it is too hot inside.
Antosia’s wife told investigators their son noticed Diesel was missing when he went to feed Diesel and their two other dogs that evening. Antosia checked his patrol vehicle and found Diesel dead, his wife said in a statement.
“After extensive criminal and administrative investigations, all evidence indicates that this was an unfortunate tragic incident that was unintentional. We have examined every aspect of our procedures and equipment to prevent a similar situation from occurring again. While nothing is guaranteed, I am confident that we have addressed this best as is humanly possible,” Sebastian Police Chief Michelle Morris said in a statement.
Antosia previously received a 120-hour suspension without pay in connection with the incident, Sebastian police said.
The department said Antosia will continue to work as a road patrol officer.