The Harris County Sheriff's Office in Houston is investigating a deputy after his K-9 dog died of heat exhaustion after being accidentally left in the deputy's patrol car.

Sheriff's spokesman Alan Bernstein says, "This is a tragic accident," he said. "Our officers have a wonderful bond with these animals. The deputy is grieving, and it is a difficult time for the entire (K-9) Unit."

Bernstein tells the Houston Chronicle that the deputy has been placed on administrative leave until the internal affairs investigation is finished.

Bernstein says the dog died Aug. 14 after the deputy arrived home, became distracted and left the dog in the car. He says the deputy is a 20-year veteran of the sheriff's office and has been with the K-9 unit for 12 years.

Bernstein says sheriff's officials are considering options for keeping similar deaths of K-9 dogs from recurring.