CACHE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah)- The Cache County Attorney’s Office has filed criminal charges against the handler of the K-9 left in the patrol vehicle in Cache County. Jason Whittier has now been charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal, a class B misdemeanor.
On July 3rd, the dog and handler returned to Whittier’s home after a normal shift and that’s when officials claim Whittier forgot K-9 Endy in his truck. It was 94 degrees in Logan that day and according to court documents, Endy spent hours in direct sunlight before dying of heat stroke.
Prosecutors say Whittier left with his family and didn’t return until 11:30 p.m. He checked Endy’s outside kennel but it was empty. Whittier then checked the patrol truck and found Endy dead. Officials say that when Whittier realized his mistake, he reported Endy’s death immediately and was put on administrative leave without pay.
The charges carry a possible six month sentence and fines.
Former Prosecutor in Salt Lake City Kent Morgan said he probably won’t get the full sentence.”It is unlikely there will be any jail time at all. It is very likely there will be a substantial fine and the criminal record imposed on a police officer is going to be very detrimental to his future employment in law enforcement.”
The Logan County Sheriff’s Office has proposed new safety measures to keep this from happening again like end-of-shift alarms for K-9 vehicles.
“This tragedy serves as a stark reminder to never leave children or animals alone inside of a car for any amount of time, as temperatures can quickly rise to a deadly level.” said Tony Baird, Chief Deputy, Cache County Attorney Office.