MOYOCK, N.C. – Several handlers and supervisors at Academi Training Center were fired after six dogs died on July 8.
The facility specializes in dog handling for security purposes and all of the dogs belonged to the training center, according to Academi’s Chief Operating Officer Paul Donahue.
Temperatures were in the low 90s on the day the incident occurred.
According to Donahue, some of the handlers put the dogs into a vehicle and left the air conditioning on to cool them off, which is not the company’s standard procedure.
The handlers did not notify supervisors of the idea. Donahue says the handlers did not intend to deliberately go against procedures, but they thought they were doing something good for the dogs.
While the dogs were in the van, the air conditioner malfunctioned and started blowing out warm air instead of cool air.
When the handlers returned to the car, the six dogs were dead. A veterinarian says the dogs died due to heat exhaustion.
Donahue says the facility normally keeps 45 to 60 dogs on the premises.
All handlers that were involved and their supervisors were fired.
As a result, the company has changed their policy to require their employees and students to sign after reading their procedures.
Management was also changed, according to Donahue.
Donahue says the handlers were close with the dogs and are very upset with their deaths.