Maricopa County in Arizona has a reputation for being harsh towards its inmates. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is infamous for using questionable tactics in his jails, like cutting meals and forcing inmates to wear pink underwear.
Sheriff Arpaio, however, has little to do with the most recent incident to take place at a Maricopa County jail, in which a service dog died after being left in a vehicle for seven hours.
According to AZ Family, prosecutors have declined to file animal cruelty charges against Officer Jesse Dorantes, the Arizona Department of Corrections dog handler who left the animal in the back of his SUV after leaving work early. Dorantes claims he forgot about the dog — named Ike — because he had left work in his personal car in order to attend to his sick child. According to KTAR, the SUV was parked at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye. Temperatures reportedly reached 98 degrees throughout the duration of the dog’s time in the vehicle.
“This was a tragic accident that was preventable and, perhaps to many people, unforgivable. But based on our review of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the incident, the available evidence does not provide a reasonable likelihood of conviction,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
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Montgomery also cited a similar 2007 case, in which police officer Thomas Lovejoy was acquitted in an animal cruelty case after leaving a police dog named Bandit in a car for over 13 hours.
“We have even less favorable evidence now than what was presented in that previous manner,” Montgomery said, comparing the two incidents.