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Hero Down: Boone County Sheriff’s K9 Bear Dies After 22 Hours In Handler’s Vehicle At High Temps

Boone, IA – Boone County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) K9 Bear died on Sept. 2, 2022, after being left in his handler’s truck for approximately 22 hours in extreme late-summer temperatures.

Now-former BCSO Sergeant Dallas Wingate, 50, was charged earlier this month in connection with K9 Bear’s horrific death, the Des Moines Register reported.

Wingate turned himself in to Story County sheriff’s deputies on April 4 on a felony count of injury or interference of a police dog service.

Story County Sheriff Nicholas Lennie said the 15-year department veteran was later released on bond, the Des Moines Register reported.

According to court documents, Sgt. Wingate put K9 Bear into his truck at about 10 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2022, because he was barking at a deer, the Ames Tribune reported.

About 22 hours later, at 8 p.m. the following day, the sergeant went outside to feed his dogs and realized K9 Bear wasn’t in the outdoor dog run, the Ames Tribune reported.

That’s when he remembered having put the K9 into the truck and went to get him.

“Wingate discovered K-9 Officer Bear deceased at that time,” the warrant read.

Iowa State Climatologist Justin Glisan said temperatures in the area soared to 98 degrees on Sept. 2, 2022, the Des Moines Register reported.

Temperatures inside the enclosed vehicle likely reached between 130 degrees and 135 degrees, according to Glisan.

Sgt. Wingate immediately called Boone County Sheriff Gregg Elsberry to report what occurred, the Ames Tribune reported.

Sheriff Elsberry transported K9 Bear’s body to the Bonne Veterinary Hospital, and he was subsequently taken to the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy.

Sgt. Wingate was placed on administrative leave as a result of his K9 partner’s death and resigned from the BCSO on Sept. 8, 2022, the Des Moines Register reported.

He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $7,500 if he is convicted.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office in the loss of K9 Bear.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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