Chandler, AZ -- A Chandler police sergeant was placed on leave Tuesday as the department began an investigation into the death of a K-9 dog in his care.
Meanwhile, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office announced it will launch a criminal investigation into the death of the dog that died after being left in a hot patrol car by the handler, Sgt. Tom Lovejoy.
"I take this very seriously," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "Let's not prejudge the officer. I'm not saying this officer is guilty, but I think it's incumbent for the sheriff to look into it."
County Attorney Andrew Thomas said Tuesday that it is at least a misdmeanor to leave an animal unattended in a motor vehicle. And depending on the incident, it could be a felony or an animal-cruelty charge.
Chandler police had said Monday that Lovejoy would remain on duty.
Since news of the dog's death was made public Monday, Chandler police have received a large volume of threatening or harassing calls from people angry at the officer.
I also read a letter posted by Officer Lovejoy's wife, Carolyn, in which she said this was a "horrific accident," and she stated how much they loved the dog and how he was a part of their family.
I think people need to remember, we ARE human and we DO forget. I recall reading a story not that long ago about a grandfather who forgot he had his grandchild with him asleep in the back seat of the car and that child died of heat exhaustion. Accidents happen.