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K-9 dies

Selma’s K-9 unit has died.

Selma Police Chief William Riley told city council members during a work session Monday the dog died recently. The dog’s handler, Kendall Thomas, went home and found the animal in the kennel.

Thomas and the 2-year-old Belgian Malinois worked the streets, beginning in December 2008 after the dog became certified.

Nobody in public knew the dog’s name because it couldn’t be given out for security reasons.

Mayor George Evans told the council Dr. George Wood of Selma Animal Hospital performed an autopsy on the dog.

Said Riley, “Gastric torsion is the cause — secondary heat stroke.”

Gastric torsion is defined plainly as bloat. It is a serious, life-threatening condition of large breed, deep chested dogs, usually fed once a day.

“This is something that very, very rarely happens,” the police chief said. “There is nothing as far as neglect or the handler did wrong. It was something that happened.”

Riley said the dog ate his meal in the afternoon. Thomas took the canine home and put him up in a covered kennel. When Thomas returned home later, the dog was dead.

Riley explained the dog’s stomach became twisted, the esophagus was closed off, preventing the dog from belching or vomiting.

Some veterinarians recommend feeding two or three meals daily to breeds susceptible to the malady and to discourage eating too fast. Veterinarians also recommend not allowing exercise for a couple of hours after the dog eats.

This was the only dog owned by the police department. It cost $13,000 and was under warranty.

The city would have been covered if the cause of death had been a hereditary problem. “As it is, the city is not covered by the warranty,” Riley said