Brown County Sheriff’s K-9 “Wix” dies after air conditioning in squad car malfunctioned

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BROWN COUNTY -- The Brown County Sheriff's Office has announced the passing of K-9 "Wix." Wix was left in a squad car at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan County, and died as a result of malfunctioning air conditioning.

K9 Wix

K9 Wix

Sheriff's officials say on Wednesday, August 12th, Wix and his partner were on special assignment at the PGA Championship in Kohler.

The deputy and Wix, who specialized in explosive detection, were contracted to assist with site security.

Wix was placed in a squad car with the engine running and the air conditioning on.

The deputy checked on Wix throughout the morning -- and around 12:30 p.m., the deputy found Wix non-responsive in the back of the squad.

The air conditioning was not functioning properly.

Sheriff's officials say the squad involved in this incident is equipped with a K-9 heat alarm -- but that alarm didn't activate when the air conditioning unit failed.

Authorities say it's unclear why these failures happened.

Wix was three years old, and a male Malinois.

He was a member of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office since April of 2014.

Wix was a dual purpose patrol dog trained in tracking and explosive detection.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation into this incident.  Bay East Animal Hospital is assisting with this investigation to determine the cause of death.

Meanwhile -- a veterinarian says it's normal for a K-9 officer to stay in a squad car like Wix did.

"Utilizing the vehicle as a place to rest is a necessity for them.  They cannot work and they cannot do the dangerous things that we ask them to do -- they can't do the meticulous work that we ask them to do if they don't have a rest cycle and they will not get rest if they're just hanging out in the parking lot," Dr. Margaret Eastman said.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.

Google Map for coordinates 43.844206 by -87.740858.


  • Shannon Cook

    I’m assuming the cop left the dog in the car because the dog wasn’t on “assignment”. And I’m assuming the car was running because it’s the middle of summer in Wisconsin and it was hot outside so he left the AC on for the dog. He did check on the dog it sounds like so I don’t think the cop did anything wrong. I think this is just a tragic accident. I don’t blame the cop. Go easy on judging the cop, he/she must feel really awful enough without rude comments.

  • So Sad

    What a horrible ending for such a young dog. K9 dog or everyday pet dog…YOU DON’T LEAVE YOUR ANIMAL IN THE CAR ON HOT SUMMER DAYS! Malfunctions do happen. My prayers for this Officer and their family. RIP Wix.

  • Carmine Petracca

    I think everyone should really reserve judgment until all the facts are in. That said, it’s been reported that he left the dog for over 20 hrs. How do you leave your dog behind, forget about him for 20 hours ?! It is unimaginable to any responsible dog owner to leave your dog behind without making proper arrangements. When my wife and I leave the apartment to go for dinner or out socially our dog is on our minds. We don’t forget that she’s at home, we remember she’s there, we are cognizant of when she needs to go out and relieve herself, cognizant of what conditions we left her in. It is unthinkable to my wife and I that this happened. At this juncture this is not an accident, it’s negligence.

  • Marni Montanez

    whoever is manufactuering all these A/C ‘s that are malfunctioning in cop cars obviously have not adequately tested these devices for a long period of time before putting a living being in there who will cook to death at their negligent hand. Note of wisdom to every police force……………….those A/C’s that are supposed to give off warnings and all that stuff, aren’t working. Stop using them!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reasonless

    I am totally amazed at bow all of you so willingly rush to the keyboard and spout off your opinion without hard facts to back it.
    Not only is it tragic that this accident happened, its a complete tragic that many of you have access to a computer.

    • Reasonless

      I know three K9 officers, all from different departments.
      Those of you that post such foolish comments in reference to neglect haven’t a clue as to not only the function of these fine dogs, but you are also unaware of the dogs daily structure in order for it to function properly within its duties.
      Perhaps some of you need to talk to a K9 officer about his or her duties before you make such foolish posts.

      • Dave

        Reasonless – I agree. The amount of venom coming from some of the people on this thread regarding this incident is sickening. Every reasonable precaution to protect the dogs in the event of a failure of the air conditioner or the engine has been taken. This is a tragic accident – nothing more – nothing less. I am in Arizona. The police out here take every precaution possible given the extreme heat. Some of these people need to get a clue!!

  • s holmes

    These type of “accidents” can’t be allowed to happen. These dogs cannot stay in the car in summer.

  • Mel

    So it’s the air conditioning’S fault the dog died. This officer should be charged with CRUELTY to animals and as anyone else who kills a police dog, felony assault resulting in death of an officer of the law. And the idiot didn’t think to leave the window cracked!? I don’t buy this half-assed excuse for being an idiot. He, plain and simple left the dog ,knowing that the air conditioner wasn’t working properly. It’s not hard to tell when the unit is going and I will not believe that. Even if it WAS working you ALWAYS LEAVE the window open about 3-5 inches open incase you have to get in. And what the hell was the officer leaving and unattended, RUNNING vehicle in the first place!? Again, no excuse for the negligence this officer expressed, none. Lets hope this one doesn’t have kids, sounds like they would “forget” the kid was sleeping, then the car gets stolen or the ‘air conditioning would fail’ and another unneeded death would occur. If one of us citizens leave a car running with an animal or child in it, or just plain running unattended, we get a ticket or go to JAIL. So why should we not hold our own officers accountable!?

    • Mel

      And there is NO excuse for leaving an animal in a car, in the summer at all for ANY AMOUNT OF TIME! A car can heat up in summer from air temp to 120° to 150° F in the summer sun in under 10 minutes. So again, there is NO EXCUSE for leaving the windows closed up tight at all! This officer better feel terrible, cause it is their fault COMPLETELY AND THE ONLY SYMPATHY I HAVE IS FOR THE POOR DOG!

  • Joe

    Absolutely disgusting. NO different then leaving your kid in the car. Rip Wix. Shame on that department. After hours of use without the car actually driving of course the air conditioner will malfunction. Few hours to rest OK, this was not the case.

  • scott sonderly

    This cop should be arrested and charged for animal cruelty. People need to be treated fairly. What’s good for a normal citizen is also good for a policeman!

  • george howe

    My heart goes out to the dog and the police officer. These highly trained dogs are far more then just a working companion’s they become your friends and part of your family. I’m hoping this officer is given all the time off he needs to more his loss. RIP Wix.

  • SharonSkeris of Kohler

    So sorry to hear about your K9 dog .He was a beautiful German shepherd. I feel so bad for your Dept.

  • joseph

    That police mistakes hope put charge to the police do that.the law if for every don’t think becose is police he no faces charge

  • Bro Bro gangsta

    OK had this been a civilian who left their child in the car or even their pet I GUARANTEE! There would of been no mention of a failed air condition unit. It would have been no questions asked child neglect or animal cruelty. HOWEVER since it’s the law were talking about they just make exceptions for each other you know it’s a brotherhood. Sorry for the loss of the dog but someone needs to be held accountable and another thing. If this was a Ford product which I assume it is, anybody knows how faulty and unreliable a Ford is so why would you assume that something so critical to the dog surviving in the hot car would function properly in a Ford? In fact the engineers who designed this system should be held accountable with the officer.

  • andy

    This cop needs to be charged.. if it was a civilian we would be charged and have to explain why we had a faulty ac unit and u the dog was left in there for so long… Put him in jail…

  • Shawn

    Really? Car malfunctioned…ridiculous the department cannot take responsibility for themselves. Way to not take blame for your mistake of leaving a dog in a hot vehicle. Could only imagine if this was not an officer who did this. I bet he occasionally checked on him as well. What a joke….RIP WIX

  • Jonathan C. Smith Sr.

    Can we know if the Unit was supplied by AceK9 or Criminalistics, or another brand? We have AceK9 and would like to know thanks.

  • John G

    You wouldn’t leave your human partner in the car why would your K9 partner be any different. No excuses why so ever. He should have left him at home apparently he didn’t need him or he wouldn’t have left him in the car. No sympathy for the officer at all.

  • Laurie Jacob

    I will remain suspicious about the “kept checking on the dog” part—then why did the dog die? This case is full of excuses which need to be investigated by an outside objective party. Too many dogs dying under K9 officer’s watches.

    • 2ECOND

      agreed, along with the fact that both the air conditioning failed AND the alarm did to. something isn’t adding up right.

  • eric gibble

    NO EXCUSES for leaving an animal in a car in the summer heat…An incompetent cop who should walk away, or be fired

  • Amr

    Equal treatment under the law is required. A k9 is an officer, this requires criminal examination, but Elmer dmbfk will get his check, like these scum tend to do.

  • John Paulson

    What a way to spin a story. Negligence…plain and simple. These guys are trained and know what they’re doing. If they can’t multitask and think responsibly about another member of their team while on duty, they should not be assigned a K9 unit.

Comments are closed.

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