Two New Orleans police officers have been charged in connection with the deaths of two police dogs in unrelated incidents.
Jason Lewis, 33, is accused of leaving Primo, a Belgian Malinois, unattended in a police department SUV, leading to the dog’s heat related death.
The case was heavily publicized last summer when the Metropolitan Crime Commission released photographs, including the one above, which shows what Primo did to the vehicle before dying from apparent heat stroke. Lewis was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.
Sgt. Randy Lewis, a former supervisor in the New Orleans Police Department’s K-9 unit, meanwhile, was charged with malfeasance in office, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Randy Lewis, 45, was handling another K-9, Phantom, who last May fell down an open elevator shaft at the abandoned Charity Hospital building in downtown New Orleans — while Lewis was moonlighting. Lewis claimed he was on duty and involved in a training exercise, according to a spokesman for the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office. Actually he was being paid to work on a private security detail.
Neither officer has worked with dogs since the deaths.
Attorneys for the officers said the charges are unfair and they will fight them in court.
“Both of these cases are significant above and beyond the fact that, tragically, an animal lost its life,” said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, which last summer asked the district attorney’s office to look at the cases. “I think that these cases, both of them, indicate and speak to the police department’s inability to adequately police itself.”
According to an LSU necropsy report, Primo, 6 years old, likely died from shock due to heat stroke. He was taken to a veterinary office with a body temperature of 109.8 degrees.
The other dog, Phantom, died after falling from the 17th floor into an empty elevator shaft at around 9:30 at night on May 21, 2009. According to a report obtained by the Crime Commission, the dog’s body was removed by officers the next morning.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, belgian malinois, charged, charges, cruelty to animals, dogs, elevator, fall, fell, heat, heat stroke, jason lewis, K-9, k-9 unit, k9, law enforcement, left in car, malfeasance, metropolitan crime commission, new orleans, officers, ohmidog!, pets, phantom, police, police dogs, primo, randy lewis, shaft, vehicle