Officer Faces Animal Cruelty Charges After K9 Dies In Patrol Car

| by Kathryn Schroeder

A police officer in Mills, Wyoming has been charged with animal cruelty after his K9 partner died.

Officer Zachary Miller left K9 officer Nyx in his patrol car outside of the police station for almost seven hours on July 9, 2014. The engine was running but the air conditioning was off, according to an investigator’s affidavit filed in Natrona County Circuit Court.

The temperature increased from 53 degrees at the time Nyx was left in the car alone to 86 degrees when Miller returned to the vehicle and found the dog deceased. The windows were reportedly rolled up and the doors locked.

Nyx was a black lab trained in narcotics who had worked with the department for seven years. She lived with Miller’s family.

Miller has pleaded not guilty to the charge of animal cruelty, reports Billings Gazette.

Prosecutors claim Miller failed to provide proper food, drink, or protection from weather for the dog.

If found guilty of the misdemeanor charge, Miller could face up to six months in jail and a $750 fine.

Miller is still employed by the Mills police department but is not on active duty.

"He is not a problem officer," Mills Police Chief Bryon Preciado said of Miller. "He just screwed up."

“It was a mistake he’s going to have to pay for,” Preciado said. “He’s going to be disciplined through our department.”

Miller has been with the department for four years and has been recognized previously as ‘Officer of the Year,’ reports KTVQ.

A memorial plaque is planned for Nyx.

"She was the best dog I have ever seen in narcotics," said Preciado. "She was a wonderful dog."

Photo Source: Mills Police Department/KTVQ