Report: Cop ran errands, napped as canine died in 109-degree day
PHOENIX - A suburban police officer is accused of leaving a police dog in a patrol car for more than 12 hours on a 109-degree day, killing the animal.
Chandler police Sgt. Tom Lovejoy was booked into the Maricopa County jail on a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty after a two-week investigation into the death of a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois named Bandit. He was released later Wednesday, said Capt. Paul Chagolla, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s investigation showed Bandit was in Lovejoy’s patrol car from about 9 a.m. to shortly after 10 p.m. Aug. 11. During that time, the investigation found, the officer ran errands, napped and ate out with his wife. Lovejoy later found the dog dead in the car.
“I am certain Sgt. Lovejoy has suffered greatly from leaving his police dog in a sweltering car,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a statement. “I do not relish the idea of compounding his sadness. However, Lovejoy must be treated like anyone else in similar circumstances.”
Lovejoy said Wednesday night that he is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 25 and that his lawyer advised him not to comment further.
“With the sheriff railing on me right now, it’s kind of hard to say anything,” Lovejoy said.
Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler said in a statement that the department respects and supports the criminal justice system and its processes, and that an internal investigation has been launched.