"This situation has been devastating:" K9 officer dies after he was accidentally left in a hot patrol car

GULF SHORES, Alabama -- Police in Alabama say their community relations dog "Mason" died after he was left in a hot car.

According to an official release by the Gulf Shores Police Department in the city of Gulf Shores, Alabama, on Thursday, June 18th, while transitioning between duties, Mason's handler, Corporal Josh Coleman forgot Mason was still in the back of his patrol car.

When he realized the dog was missing, Cpl. Coleman found Mason in the squad -- in serious distress.

Mason was rushed to a veterinarian's office, where treatment began. On the advice of the veterinarian, Mason was transferred to a more advanced facility in Pensacola. There, he was treated aggressively, and there were hopeful signs that Mason was doing better by Friday morning.

Around 11:00 p.m. Friday night, Mason went into respiratory failure and he passed away.

The release issued by the Gulf Shores Police Department indicates the department has conferred with the District Attorney's Office -- and the consensus was that no criminal charges should be filed in this case. However, the Gulf Shores Police Department and the City of Gulf Shores have taken sanctions against Cpl. Coleman.

But FOX10TV reports the Baldwin County District Attorney's Office has said the case will go to a grand jury.

In a statement released by the Baldwin County District Attorney's office Tuesday, officials said: "The District Attorney's Office was contacted by Lt. Bill Cowan of the Gulf Shores Police Department on Saturday, June 20, 2015, regarding the death of a K-9 Officer. Based on the preliminary information, the assistant district attorney agreed with Lt. Cowan that an arrest was not appropriate at that time. The investigation is ongoing. Once the investigation is complete, a Grand Jury will perform a review of the facts and determine if any criminal conduct has or has not occurred."

Mason was not an enforcement K9 officer.

The department says enforcement K9s spend a good deal of time in their handler's vehicles, so those vehicles are equipped with remote heat alarms, water bowls and other protective measures.

Those protective measures were not available in the vehicle Mason was in.

"This situation has been devastating for Cpl. Coleman and his family and we hope that they are able to work through their understandable emotions. This is a tragic occurrence that has left the entire organization mourning a terrible loss. It also illustrates how easy it is to become distracted, and how quickly heat can affect those that we love that are particularly vulnerable to it. Please keep this in mind when transporting children, pets or the elderly," the Gulf Shores Police Department said in a statement.