Madison County is in Northwest Arkansas and encompasses approximately  837 square miles. The last census from  2010 census indicates a population of 15,717. The county seat is Huntsville, nicknamed the “Crossroads of the Ozarks“. Huntsville has a police department and coverage is also provided by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department (MCSO). The MSCO acquired  K9 Lina in either 2014 or 2015. As I’ve discovered since I started writing about K9 deaths, media reports often give conflicting information. I also learned that Arkansas does not respond to FOIA requests unless they are submitted by a resident of the state. What I do know is that through community donations, the MSCO was able to purchase a female  Belgian Malinois from K9 Working Dogs International, LLC. located in Longford, Kansas. The website says that Police Dog Pricing ranges from $4,500.00 to $15,500.00 which is most likely based on how advanced the dog’s training is at time of purchase. I don’t know how much training K-9 Lina had prior to joining Madison County, only that Deputy Cornelison trained to be her handler at K9 Working Dogs for three weeks. By the time she hit the road with her handler,  K-9 Lina was trained to track and detect narcotics. She also lived at his residence with his family and a family dog where she was housed in an outside kennel behind a barn.j-cornelison

What I DO know is that after being a K9 Officer for Madison County for one year, K-9 Lina died in Deputy Cornelison’s patrol vehicle, a Ford Crown Victoria, on September 9, 2016.

Again, more mainstream media discrepancies as some report K-9 Lina remained inside the vehicle when Cornelison arrived home from work at 6 am until the discovery of her body at 2:45 – 3 pm. Others reported that Cornelison took Lina out of the vehicle and kennelled her until he was called out to assist with an accident at which point he removed her from her kennel and to the wreck with him. So K-9 Lina was either trapped inside a hot car for approximately (8) hours or (6).

This is a stock photo of a Ford Crown Victoria ~ not one from MCSO or any agency involved in this case.indianapolis_metropolitan_police_cruiser_1

He parked the patrol car in his driveway at approximately 9 am after which he performed a variety of tasks such as driving in his truck to help a friend fix a lawnmower, pay his water bill, talk on the phone with a family member and other errands. It wasn’t until approximately 2:45 – 3 pm, after greeting his other dog that he realized K9 Lina was quiet in the kennel. That’s when Deputy Cornelison discovered K-9 Lina dead inside the patrol vehicle, one that was NOT equipped with a heat sensor. The outside temperature that day was 91 degrees which means that the interior temperature would have reached  109 degrees within 10 minutes.

Excellent temperature graphs, illustrations, sources and video.

According to Sheriff Phillip Morgan, Deputy Cornelian was in a “state of shock” upon finding K-9 Lina’s lifeless body. Sheriff Morgan also told the media that his deputies had been working 50 hour weeks due to understaffing and were overworked and sleep deprived. Deputy Cornelian was placed on paid leave while neighboring Washington County conducted an investigation.

Sheriff Morgan

I’ve read Deputy Jonathan Cornelison’s  timeline and as a nurse who has worked more than her share of long 12 -18 shifts with little sleep in between and a single parent of (3) children, I can understand part of it. The following, however, is where any similarities end:

Woke up at 6 a.m. Friday to take his kids to daycare, then responded to a wreck, with Lina in the back seat. Drove straight home, and went back inside at about 9 a.m.

At 9:50 a.m., he got a call to help his friend with a broken lawnmower. Ran errands until 1:40 p.m. and then met a Huntsville officer to review a DWI case. Returned home at about 2:45 p.m. and realized Lina was not in her kennel. Found her deceased in the back of his car.” Source: KHBS *Note It was 90 F the day of K9 Lina’s death

I don’t know where Deputy Cornelian originally hails from but I do know that he has lived in Arkansas for at least (9) years as he’s been employed by the Madison County Sheriff’s Dept. since 2007. That alone tells me he is more than familiar with the hot temperatures in a community whose motto is “Crossroads of the Ozarks”. The median temperature for early September in Huntsville is 80 – 88 F. Anyone should know that is too hot to allow a living animal or human to stay inside a car for more than a very brief time. But an LEO, who is trained to identify dangerous situations (hot cars being one of them) and to still leave his partner inside one is abhorrent. When he returned from the wreck, “with Lina in the back seat. Drove straight home, and went back inside at about 9 a.m.” He should have removed her from the vehicle the same time he removed himself. I do not buy into the overworked, tired, lack of sleep, skeleton crew excuses being offered by both the deputy and Sheriff Morgan; they are merely words being used to justify egregious behavior by a negligent handler. Deputy Cornelian knew it was hot out, as an LEO he inherently knew that hot cars are death traps, yet he still kept K-9 Lina inside a virtual oven while “At 9:50 a.m., he got a call to help his friend with a broken lawnmower. Ran errands until 1:40 p.m. and then met a Huntsville officer to review a DWI case. Returned home at about 2:45 p.m. and realized Lina was not in her kennel.” Source: KHBS

None of his actions during the time frame of nearly (6) hours were those of a man so irrational from overwork and lack of sleep that his behavior can be considered innocent and K-9 Lina’s death merely an “accident” when in reality, it was a death sentence for her. This is blatant animal abuse ~ by cop. Which begs the question; how can we as a society trust an officer who is sworn to protect and serve us when he FAILS to protect the life of his own K9 partner?

On September 23,   Matt Durrett, 4th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney of Washington County,  announced that there was insufficient evidence to support an animal cruelty charge, therefore, Deputy Cornelian would not be charged. I do not concur with Prosecutor Durrett’s decision because criminal charges must be brought against the handler in this case. Otherwise, the negligent homicide of police dogs by human police officers will continue. My only solace is the knowledge and inherent belief that 90% of our law enforcement canine handlers are above reproach. Many would take a bullet for their partner. Once Prosecutor Durrett’s announced  that no charges would be forthcoming, Sheriff Morgan brought final disciplinary action against the deputy on September 26:

Deputy Cornelison will:
1. Be suspended without pay for 60 days.
2. Be removed from the K9 program.
3. Be decertified as a K9 Handler.
4. A letter of reprimand will be placed in his file.

A K9 Officer is a universal dog that can track, guard, catch and protect. A K9 Officer serves his duty just like any human officer. They will protect their handler with their life.

It is disheartening to know that the state of Arkansas takes hot car deaths so lightly. In August 2016, Hon. Wade Navamore , a circuit judge in Hot Springs,  was found innocent in the July 2015 death of his 17-month-old son that he forgot in a hot car for (5) hours while at work.

The courtroom broke out in loud cheers as the verdict was read aloud by Special Judge John Langston. Naramore’s wife, Ashley, ran over to embrace her husband shortly after.

A sad indictment against the values and moral compass of one of America’s southern states.

I’ll leave you with this thought; think about being trapped in a hot car and fighting for every breath you could take until you just couldn’t breathe anymore and took your last one. Very heart wrenching and inexcusable!


The first to sense the hostility of a suspect,

The first to react to protect his master.

The first to enter where danger lurks.

The first to detect the hidden intruder.

The first to take action against violence.

The first to sense his master’s joy.

The first to know his master’s sorrow or fear.

The first to give his life in defense of his master.

The last to be forgotten by those who work with others like him.

They know him as a “Partner,” not just an animal.



Next ~ Part 2: The aftermath of K9 Lina’s death


23 thoughts on “The Senseless Death of K9 Lina…Part 1

    1. As it does mine. I actually wrote this post a few days after I learned the DA declined to charge the handler. I write about most of the K9 deaths due to negligence but don’t always post them as was the case with K9 Lina. Recently however I discovered something while fact checking a different K9 that disturbed me. So I posted Lina’s story but realized it would be in two parts. It’s a rather slippery slope as don’t want LE to think I’m against them as I have a deputy in immediate family. But the handful that are neglifient mst be held accountable. That former mindset of “it’s just a dog” needs to be erased and anyone who causes their ddeath or injury whether it be a civilian or their handler be held accountable.
      My dogs have all been rescues with the xception of my 2 GSDs. I had always wanted to do Schutzhund (which doesn’t have to be with a GSD) and when a doctor I worked with had a female brought over from Germany I jumped in the puppy line.
      Thank you for commenting.

  1. Really glad to see you’re addressing more K9 hot car deaths!! For the record I know you’re not against law enforcement, just those few that make the rest of us look bad. Only a few but IMO just one is too many. But departments have no way of telling if the individual is a stellar officer – until tragedy strikes. Look at Peabody in GA. With the same department for close to 20 yrs. Rose in rank. Who could have imagined behind his grins and tats he was a monster? Keep writing. And thanks!

    1. Thanks! You are correct in that there really isn’t a way of telling until something happens. Peabody dfinately has a personality disorder which includes sociopaths and psychopaths. People like Ted Buddy are psychopaths; intelligient, hold a job and relationships – just like he did. He’s still feeling a bit superior in that he won’t reveal the location of retired K9 Dale’s body so he can have a fitting service. His will be an interesting trial I’m sure.

  2. Thanks g/f! Just made the decision yesterday to tweet my K9 posts so took a self authority crash course on blog settings etc. As I commented to cornfedcontessa above, I wrote K9 Lina’s story a few weeks ago never dreaming it would morph past “No charges. The end). I will be so very glad when Dec 6 arrives although it dawned on me last night that I still have to address the near vision which hopefully will be with contacts. The dictating app is working fairly well but reading – ahhh that’s a different story. Wait until you read Part 2. Not earth shattering but nonetheless thought provoking.

    1. Just got your reply so sorry for my late answer.
      The whole K9 issue is looking very suspicious..obviously there are good officers but it’s like there is some sort of conspiracy going on…it’s good that you are bringing this to the public’s attention.
      Btw…just in case you don’t post again before 6th Dec, good luck, and I’ll be thinking of you! Let me know as soon as you can how you are *hugs* 🙂 xx

      1. I will. I cannot wait! I’m ready for a new pair of cheater glasses because the screen is becoming more difficult to se. My dictating app doesn’t “get” my NY dialect so annoying. Hopefully they will agree that I’m good to get measured for contacts for near vision. If not so be it. Will just wear progressive lenses but still would like as was before ~ glasses not needed to knit etc.

  3. Thank you! I usually never send my blog posts out of the blogosphere but decided to start Tweeting the K9 ones. No comments except the regular people but the traffic thingy is through the roof so people have read it. I thought I’s have Part 2 ready for tonight but I’ve decided somedays you’re the windshield and somedays you’re the bug. I’m a bug today. hahahahha

    1. Thank you so much for understanding the horror of this girl’s death. The petition. Where to start as it has given me a few headaches. It was written by a woman from NJ, pictured a springer spaniel in a red sports car, and targeted the AR State Police who have zero jurisdiction. After numerous comments and emails from me (and perhaps others), ForceChange removed the spaniel in the red car and replaced it with a K9 ~ the wrong one! They changed the target from the State Police back to Sheriff Morgan who no longer has authority in the matter since the DA decided no charges were necessary. The target letter MUST go to the AG, not Sheriff of the town. ForceChange has not changed it despite comments from many people on the petition. LEO’s have emailed them, I have emailed them but they refuse to acknowledge. I even tried tracking down the writer since she cranks out petitions on almost a daily basis. No response. The dog currently pictured is now deceased but he was K9 Conan from Appleton WI. A bomb sniffing dog who lived with his handler after retirement and passed in 2015. I am going to c&p one of my last emails to them which detail the inaccuracies. I am sick, appalled, angry and not my first rodeo with ForceChange. In a period of one month I discovered 2 of their petitions that had the correct abuser only they targeted law enforcement in completely wrong states. I wrote this jointly to the petition writer and Force Change: While I applaud your dedication and the work you do on behalf of animals, you wrote a ForceChange petition seeking justice for K9 Lina’s hot car death in AR. It was pointed out to Force Change a month ago that the wrong agency was targeted and that the springer spaniel in the red sports car was NOT Lina. Commenters including LEOs left links to K9 Lina’s picture. Emails were sent to ForceChange and finally the petition was edited. It is now worse than ever! I’m not going into all the errors here but read the comments on the petition YOU wrote. To top it off the dog’s photo you now have on the petition is a K9 but NOT Lina. It is K9 Conan, a bomb sniffing dog from WI who died in 2015. His badge is on the picture clearly showing Outagamie County Sheriff’s Depart. K9 yet the petition insinuates it is K9 Lina. They weren’t even the same breed! K9 Conan was a GSD; K9 Lina was a Belgian Malinous. First the petition targeted the State Police who had NO jurisdiction since the handler is a Madison County deputy. Now it targets the sheriff who can’t charge the deputy since the Prosecutor (who is over the sheriff) decided no charges. Law enforcement is in an uproar over this Linda. Do you dislike them that much that you and Force Change will allow an invalid petition to stay online uncorrected? Because if you do shame on you. You are no better than the cop who left Lina to roast to death in a hot car for 5 hours!

      1. Very true but such a sad indictment. I am one of those people who hasn’t decided what I want to be when I grow up and was originally a copyeditor fresh from college (the first time). I don’t deliberately look for mistakes but they jump out at me. Since I started advocating more for animals however if a petition is not by an organization I do check it. The one for K9 Lina is a disgrace and very disrespectful to both her and K9 Conan. I’d like to share this with you. When I saw the wrong K9 zoomed in on his shield and discovered what department he was with. Then I discovered he had passed away. But they put this post retirement video on YT which is precious! Of course I have to play it when my own dogs are not around.

      2. Well, I have deleted the tweet.
        Shame. I did just look at the comments on the petition and saw yours.
        The author seems to have a caring heart, perhaps she isn’t very bright.
        It would probably be easier for you to write a more accurate petition! ☺

  4. Their excuses are just words to shift the blame away from the real culprit, the handler. He got his butt out of the car so Lina should have been let out at the SAME time. This is inexcusable and negligence plain and simple. Laid out a timeline for that day? Said how overworked and tired He was? Why was he able to get in his personal truck to drive over and help fix a lawnmower? Pay his water bill in town? Run errands? Stop I. The station? Meet with another officer? When are these small southern departments going to open their eyes and recognize the important part a K9 plays? Lina was his PARTNER! Cornelison is a disgrace to the uninform and not deserving of a badge! Most K9 handlers are as one with their dog. Bonded pair who always has each others back. This guy, the sheriff and the DA from the next county over are all incompetent.

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