SAN ANTONIO- The death of two Bexar County Sheriff's Office K-9s could have been prevented with technology the office already has, said Democratic Sheriff's candidate Andy Lopez.
Lopez levied the allegations against Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz and the administration on the eve of the runoff election.
Lopez said the office purchased three K-9 heat alarms, which are designed to sound an alarm and automatically cool down a K-9 patrol car if the temperature inside becomes too hot. However, he said those alarms were never used.
"If these alarms had been installed, they've been on the shelf for more than two years, the dogs would be alive," Lopez said. "I know that they were in the K-9 office on the shelf. From there, they were taken to fleet maintenance. From there, no one knows what happened."
The Sheriff's Office said last week, Deputy Steve Benoy left two dogs in a locked patrol vehicle equipped with cages, while he was out of town. Benoy has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Lopez said sources inside the department told him the alarms were purchased after a K-9 died inside a patrol car in June 2010.
News 4 WOAI spoke to Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz off camera Monday evening. He said he didn't recall if the alarms had been purchased, but he said that was part of the investigation related to the deaths of the two dogs. He declined an on-camera interview until the investigation is complete.