Monday, August 20, 2012
No felony charges for officer in DPS dog's death
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Arizona Department of Public Safety officer who left his K-9 partner in a hot squad car will not face felony charges in connection with the dog's death.
Officer Korey Lankow was placed on administrative leave after leaving Jeg, a drug-sniffing dog, in his squad car outside DPS headquarters in Tucson for more than an hour on July 11. The high that day was about 98 degrees, which means the temperature inside the car was probably in the 120-degree range.
Jeg suffered severe heat-related injuries and had to be euthanized.
Based on the criminal investigation conducted by the Tucson Police Department, the Pima County Attorney's Officer opted not to pursue felony charges against Lankow.
While he won't face felony charges in Jeg's death, The Tucson City Attorney's Office could still file misdemeanor charges.
Lankow, who has been with DPS since October 2005, and Jeg had been partners for almost three years. The 7-year-old Belgian Malinois had worked with another handler before being paired with Lankow.
According to investigators, Jeg was left behind when Lankow was sent on an emergency call while moving from one squad car to another. Lankow was en route to a crash scene when he realized Jeg was not with him.
He turned around to go back to his partner, but it turned out to be too late.
In addition to the TPD investigation, DPS has launched its own internal investigation to determine if Lankow followed proper procedure.
Jeg is the second Arizona law-enforcement dog to die after being left in a hot car.
Chandler police Sgt. Tom Lovejoy was charged with animal abuse after leaving his K-9 partner, Bandit, in a patrol car in August 2007. Bandit was left in the car, which was parked outside of Lovejoy's home, for 12 hours. He died from excessive heat.
Less than three weeks after Jeg's death, two K-9s in Bexar County, Texas died after being left in a deputy's hot patrol car overnight.