Outrage over burial of beloved police K-9 who died in sweltering hot car (2024)

The community of Savannah, Missouri, is outraged after the police department revealed its "disturbing" plans to bury beloved K-9 Officer Horus, who died in June after being left in a sweltering hot car.

Police said Horus was left in a hot car following an overnight shift on June 20. Horus' handler, Lieutenant Daniel Zeigler, remains on paid leave as the Missouri State Highway Patrol investigates the German Shepherd's death, Savannah City Administrator Bruce Lundy confirmed to Newsweek on Friday.

Following a City Council meeting on July 1 where many residents were reportedly enraged over the department's presumed secrecy surrounding his death, Police Chief David Vincent made a statement confirming Horus had been buried.

"The K-9 was buried on city property. City-owned cemetery by a creek. We gathered when we buried the dog, a couple of Officers, the family of the handler and another city employee. We haven't had an official ceremony, but there is discussion of that occurring," Vincent said.

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On Wednesday morning, a Savannah resident posted photos to Facebook, claiming the pictured mound of dirt was Horus' burial site, which quickly gained traction from other concerned people. Lundy provided Newsweek with his own picture of the site on Friday, saying the decorations pictured were from members of the public.

Vincent, however, still issued a lengthy Facebook statement Wednesday, assuring residents that Horus' resting place "is a work in progress."

"The area looks less than desirable currently due to dirt work and clean up of the area," he wrote on the police department's page.

The chief stated that the burial site, which was not disclosed or pictured, will be maintained by city staff and will be "a place of honor." Vincent claimed the department was informed that Horus could not be buried in the Savannah Cemetery as the grounds do not have an area designed for people and their pets, which needs to be in place per state laws.

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"If in the future that changes and it is feasible, we will make every effort to move our friend to a more suitable location," Vincent said of Horus' body.

Vincent stressed that "time was not on our side" upon Horus' death and while he knows the dog's death and the burial site "has upset many of our citizens," urged the public to believe "none of this was done to disrespect our K9 Officer, or diminish his service to this community."

"Horus was a great asset to our department and the community," Vincent wrote. "I trusted this K9 around my grandchildren and they adored him. I am upset and angry about what happened to Horus as everyone else is."

He said that Horus' death is being investigated, "and that process will take time."

RIP Horus, We will never forget you and your dedicated service to our community," Vincent's statement concluded.

Shortly after the lengthy statement, the police department issued a follow-up Facebook post, "We have had an anonymous donor offer to purchase a permanent headstone for Horus, and will be working on getting that ordered as well."

Newsweek has made multiple attempts to reach the Savannah PD for comment and has not heard back.

As of Friday at noon, the department's post has nearly 500 comments and almost all of them are slamming the department for its treatment of Horus.

"You only feel sorry because you were caught trying to cover it up . Such disrespect for your fellow K-9 officer is inexcusable," one person wrote.

"This is no way to treat your K9 officer. This is absolutely heartbreaking. Treated maliciously in life, and then hurriedly buried in death. We see you, Savannah PD," another wrote.

A third person wrote, "This is disturbing and disappointing. If you were upset and angry you wouldn't let them dig him deep in the ground without a proper memorial service or burial. Would we do that to any other officer? I think Dave has done a great job keeping the community safe over the years. But this was not handled correctly from WHOEVER gave the orders to dig him in the ground without a service. Quite disgusting"

"EXCUSES. Treat the officer as you would any other citizen and k9 Horus as you would any other officer that was hurt or killed in duty. Despicable how you are handling this," a fourth person added.

The department asked the Savannah community for donations to fund its K-9 program. Horus joined the squad in February 2021 at almost two years old. He trained with Zeigler for eight weeks and was expected to "hit the streets" with Zeigler that May, according to another Facebook post.

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Outrage over burial of beloved police K-9 who died in sweltering hot car (2024)
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