To all those people who say that animal protectors are only interested in prosecuting rich, African-American football stars let me point out that Officer Lovejoy is none of the above.
Officer arrested in canine’s death
Christian Richardson, Dennis Welch, Tribune
Maricopa County sheriffs investigators have determined a Chandler police officer was reckless when he left his police K-9 in his patrol vehicle for 13 hours, causing the dog to die.
On Wednesday, Sgt. Tom Lovejoy was arrested for animal cruelty.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said it remains unclear why Lovejoy left Bandit, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, in the vehicle Aug. 11. Arpaio said he believes the officer has suffered from the loss, but must be treated like anyone else and face the misdemeanor charge.
Arpaio announced the arrest in a news conference, stating that the decision was difficult and calling it a sad situation.”
Lovejoy, the 39-year-old supervisor of the Chandler K-9 unit, was booked into an east Mesa jail. His status late Wednesday was not immediately available.
Conviction of animal cruelty is punishable by a maximum term of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Chandler police Chief Sherry Kiyler kept her comments brief Wednesday.
As a department, we respect and support the criminal justice systems and processes in place,” said Kiyler in a written statement. We remain saddened by the loss of K9 Bandit.”
The department refused to comment further.
The Chandler police is continuing an internal investigation into Bandits death to determine if Lovejoy violated any department policies.
Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn would not say whether he thinks its appropriate for the sheriffs office to charge Lovejoy. But, he did say it was more of a personnel matter.”
I do think that our investigation is more appropriate and will get into the facts a little better,” Dunn said.
Former Chandler police officer and current City Councilman Lowell Huggins called the arrest ridiculous,” saying Lovejoy should have been cited with a misdemeanor and let go.
I actually like Joe, but this seems like its a publicity stunt to grab headlines,” Huggins said.
Arpaio said anyone who violates the animal cruelty law is susceptible to arrest and jail time.
Three days after Bandit died and after Chandler police said there would be no criminal investigation, the sheriffs office began to look into Bandits death which occurred on a Chandler county island.
Investigators searched computers, cell phone records and talked to Lovejoy, Arpaio said.
They determined that after working an extra assignment Lovejoy had returned to his home at 9 a.m. and left Bandit in his police sport utility vehicle parked outside.
At 9:40 a.m., he left the home with his daughter in his personal vehicle. After 15 minutes he received a call that his son was in a wreck and suffered minor injuries. He headed to Gilbert to make sure everything was OK, but by 10:10 a.m. was returning home.
Lovejoy also took a nap and dined out with his wife that evening, Arpaio said. It wasnt until 10:10 p.m. that he headed to the police SUV and found Bandit dead.
How any dog owner could forget about a dog for 13 whole hours is the most puzzling and most troubling part of this case,” Arpaio said.