Corrections Secretary Wetzel Takes Administrative Action in
Response to Death of K9 Totti
Handler and supervisor
are reassigned, investigative report forwarded to law enforcement
Harrisburg, PA – Following a full internal
investigation into the death of K9 Totti, Corrections Secretary John Wetzel has
taken immediate administrative action and reassigned the two individuals
involved to non-canine duties at a state correctional institution.
removed Totti’s handler and his supervisor from their positions with the Drug
Interdiction Unit on Wednesday after the completion of a report by the Office
of Special Investigations and Intelligence into K9 Totti’s death.
two individuals involved, a captain and a sergeant, have been reassigned to
positions at SCI Rockview effective today. A senior DOC officer with military
K9 experience has been assigned to lead the Drug Interdiction Unit.
internal disciplinary review will be conducted to determine what if any disciplinary
actions will be taken against the officers involved.
the investigation concluded that this was not an intentional act and we
recognize that those involved are devastated by what happened – as all of us
are – this does not excuse the outcome,” said Wetzel. “Therefore I have moved
both individuals out of the unit and we will let the disciplinary process take
DOC is fully cooperating with the Centre County District Attorney’s Office and
is providing the investigative report, along with any additional information
requested, to the DA’s office and to the Pennsylvania State Police.
July 7, Totti, a member of the Drug Interdiction Unit team, was left unattended
in a hot vehicle for three hours. The two-year-old dog was unconscious but
alive when he was discovered. First aid was rendered at the scene and he was
rushed to an area veterinarian. Despite the emergency treatment, Totti died
several hours later from a heat-related seizure while in veterinary care.
addition to pursuing the disciplinary review, the report made a series of
recommendations which the DOC is in the process of actively evaluating including:
- Updating position descriptions to
specifically reflect the duties and responsibilities of employees while
working/training at the K9 training academy.
- Reviewing the DOC’s Drug
Interdiction Unit policy to address specific responsibilities for staff
assigned to the K9 training academy.
- Reviewing the DOC’s Drug
Interdiction Unit policy to address specific responsibility and care of
unassigned dogs while kept at the K9 training academy, including the
transporting and holding of dogs in vehicles.
DOC also is examining the purchase of heat alarm equipment that can be used in
K9 vehicles in order to help prevent a similar situation from happening in the