Tech XX, the 4-year-old Bulldog mascot of Louisiana Tech who allegedly went missing on Sunday from the animal clinic run by his caretaker, actually died there due to an employee’s negligence.
His caretaker, veterinarian Scott Sexton, said in a statement posted on Facebook yesterday that one of his clinic employees had left the dog sitting outside for hours on the hot summer night.
Bulldogs – along with other short-snouted (brachycephalic) dogs such as Pugs and Boxers – fare very poorly in warm temperatures because their small nostrils and narrow windpipes make it difficult for them to breathe and pant properly.
When the unnamed employee discovered that Tech XX had died, the employee tried to cover it up by saying the mascot had gone out for a five-minute potty break and then disappeared.
Search parties including hundreds of concerned students and community members scoured the area, trying to track down the beloved dog. A $2,000 reward was offered for his safe return.
Sexton told the Shreveport Times on Monday that it was extremely uncharacteristic for Tech XX to wander off. “He would much rather be in the air conditioning than roaming outside,” Sexton said.
And the sad truth was that Tech XX had not wandered off at all.
“Regretfully, I learned this morning that through negligence of an employee, Tech XX was left outside too long on Sunday evening and passed away from a heat stroke,” Sexton said in the statement from Louisiana Tech. “That employee unfortunately chose to handle it the wrong way and attempted to cover it up. Due to this negligence, the employee is no longer employed by Sexton Animal Health Center.”
Tech XX became Louisiana Tech’s mascot in 2008, when he was just a 3-month-old puppy.
“He will be remembered for being a fan favorite and a symbol of the spirit of Louisiana Tech,” the university stated. “Tech XX was a cherished member of the Louisiana Tech family and, together, we will all grieve his passing.”