Wade’s body was sent to a veterinary school for a necropsy and police conducted an internal investigation, officials said.
“The results indicated that K-9 Wade died as a result of a heat-related injury,” police said.
Officials said Wade was memorialized in private at the request of the dog’s handler “as he is still dealing with his grief.” Police did not say if any disciplinary action would taken in response to Wade’s death.
“K-9 Wade was a loved and valued member of the K-9 unit and he is sorely missed,” the police statement said. “We thank Wade for his service and hope he rests well as he has earned his wings. Rest in peace, buddy.”
At the time of Wade’s death, he was one of two metro Atlanta K-9 officers to die as a result of being left in a hot car. Cobb County police K-9 Chase died in early June when the safety systems inside his patrol car failed and the car shut off, cutting off the air conditioning.
Heatstroke has been the most common cause of death for K-9 officers in Georgia over the past 10 years, claiming the lives of eight police dogs during that time frame.
A little more than three months after Wade’s death, Clayton police lost a second K-9 officer when Waro, a 4-year-old German Shepherd, was shot by a suspect he was pursuing.
Waro and his handler were called by Jonesboro police to help find a suspect who had run into the woods off Tara Boulevard. Waro was able to locate the suspect, 17-year-old Stephon Ford, in about 10 minutes. Ford allegedly fired a handgun at police as they closed in on him, hitting Waro but not injuring any other officers. Police returned fire and Ford was killed.