SAN ANTONIO - The Bexar County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of two of the department's service dogs who died after they were left inside patrol vehicles overnight.
Officials with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office say the dogs were "inadvertently left inside" the vehicles and suffered from heat exposure.
A news release states "Deputy Steve Benoy, a 23-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office assigned to the K9 Section, is completely devastated by this tragic accident. He has been assigned to the unit for 13 of those 23 years and has a flawless record."
Officials say Benoy discovered the dead animals Wednesday in their kennels inside a county-owned SUV at his residence. Authorities believe the deputy drove home and parked that vehicle Tuesday, then went out for the evening. He allegedly forgot to place the dogs in their regular quarters at his residence.
"Deputy Benoy has been a dedicated officer during his career; he has never received any discipline during his tenure with the Sheriff's Office," Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz stated in the release. "It is my belief that this is a tragic accident however; the Sheriff's Office is following standard procedures in conducting a thorough investigation".
The Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division is working with Animal Care Services in the investigation. Names of the two Belgian Malinois law enforcement dogs haven't been released.
Deputy Benoy has been placed on 10 days of administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.