Arizona Officer Pleads Not Guilty In Death Of Police Dog

BanditSergeant Tom Lovejoy, a Chandler police officer pleaded not guilty today in the death of his police dog, Bandit. The five-year-old Belgian Malinois died after he was left in a hot patrol car for more than twelve hours.

Lovejoy did not appear in court, but his attorney entered the not guilty plea on his behalf. His parents, police officers, and other supports were present.

If convicted, Lovejoy faces up to six months in jail, more than $1,000 in fines, probation and prohibition from owning another animal.

Chandler police officers are conducting an internal investigation to determine if Lovejoy violated any department policies on the day Bandit died.

Source: East Valley Tribune

Photo: Associated Press

12 Responses to “Arizona Officer Pleads Not Guilty In Death Of Police Dog”

  1. Macushla says:

    Isn’t this the guy who was so “devastated” by what happened? So…instead of accepting responsibility for his actions…he pleads not guilty and sends his family to court in his stead. Real stand up guy. Wouldn’t want him as a police officer in my neighborhood. And I hope he’s not allowed to have another animal in his “care.”

  2. Bridgett says:

    I am baffled by this case. If a non-cop had killed this dog, the story would be very different. The law would be dealing much more harshly with that person.

    quote:”Chandler police officers are conducting an internal investigation to determine if Lovejoy violated any department policies on the day Bandit died.”

    So there is no clear policy that declares killing your police dog is wrong???

  3. Lynn says:

    And they are STILL conducting this internal investigation after all these weeks? [I’ll BET!] What’s so complex about the facts?

    Let’s see, a Concord CA father got 7 years for accidentally leaving his child to die in a hot car. [It was only 80 degrees outside.]

    Another parent got 2 years - he didn’t know his wife left the baby in the car for HIM to take to day care. He had no idea the kid was even in the car.

    Now these are accidents……and although they are humans, the actual act of forgetfulness on the part of the driver/caretaker is still the same. And very deserving of harsh consequences.

  4. Kit Kat says:

    What kind of investigation does it take to determine that an idiot left a dog in a car for long enough to kill him/her? I’m also shocked at the father who clearly didn’t have a clue where his baby was - even in a car with him. Unbelievable. Nope, none of us are perfect but I guess most of us have more sense than that, if not sympathetic souls.

  5. Lynn says:

    I think in far too many cases the adults are so over-ridden with responsibilities and have learned to operate on autopilot. It doesn’t excuse any of them. Not one. But perhaps it offers a bit of an explanation.

    In my opinion it’s all about priorities and recognizing what is important.

  6. nora says:

    Just as he shirked his official duties of keeping his partner, Bandit the dog alive, he was also allowed to shirk his court date. Possibly some day in the future, someone who is responsible for protecting him as a partner will also shirk their official duty.

  7. pat says:

    i’m baffled by this not guilty plea. he left the dog in a car in sizzling arizona summer heat for 12 hours; that’s not in dispute. in what way is he not guilty? he killed the dog, and he should man up and take his punishment for it. what sort of message does this not guilty plea send to the community? what sort of message does it send to this man’s own children? that it’s ok to screw up royally and then not take responsibility for it? if a police officer won’t take responsibility for his actions, how can we possibly expect society at large to do that? people in positions of authority are supposed to be better than this.

    as for department policy, i have a feeling they’re investigating to see if there’s any possible loophole to get this guy off without a stain on is record… that’s what’s taking so long.

  8. Underdog says:

    Did anyone happen to notice the fact that he and his daughter were at animal control THE VERY SAME DAY looking for her lost pet (gerbil, if I recall correctly)? Clearly these are people who should never be allowed to be around animals, much less have one in their care!

    I hope he gets the book thrown at him. The only good news I see in all this is that it’s in Sheriff Joe’s county. I hope the good Sheriff has enough clout to see that justice is served!

  9. Roxanne says:

    Are there no standards in this police dept. If people think this guy isnot guilty, then it must be because he is mentally deficient…so..how is he on the PD? I certainly wouldnot feel safe living in that community. And I think I feel a coverup coming on…. These people are supposed to set an example. I bet if someone else did that, they’d be arresting them for every charge possible. This is not a case of bad judgement or even no judgement…it’s just wrong.

  10. LTCHLHoolihan says:

    Clearly there are different laws applicable to law enforcment personel in this named jurisdiction. If this were a “commoner” of the community the individual would be facing animal cruelty charges. There is enough publicity from animal protection organizations and general community support of caring for comapnaion animals in hot climates for this officer to be more than aware of the heat dangers. Twelve hours in a police car indicates that something was occupying this officer other than “official duty” or this lovely creature would not have been enclosed in the car for that long.

    Hopefully, the court will view this as a case of negligence of duty as well as animal cruelty since the police dog was also an officer and in this case dependent on his partner, an individual clearly not fit for law enforcement duty or to ever have responsibility for any domesticated animal.

  11. Jenny Bark says:

    This is so sick, a cop teaching kids he is not gulity of killing his dog. Lynn in her past posts has given us enough links to teach us that a lot if not most police dogs have an ugly life.

    Imo not much is going to happen to him, I hope i’m wrong. His police friends where in court to back him up. Imo they where there to let the judge know they are for him & if the judge didn’t do right by him they would work against him when he ran for office again (as I said imo).

    I hope Underdog is right about Sheriff Joe & that people keep raising holy He!!, because i think he should have to do time in jail.

  12. Casey says:

    This is probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. In the Arizona Republic a few weeks ago when this first happened, they published an article about what Ofc. Lovejoy did that day.

    Sometime during the day, he WENT TO THE POUND WITH HIS DAUGHTER IN SEARCH OF A NEW CANIDATE FOR A POLICE DOG.

    Now, don’t you think he’d have had the slightest thought of Bandit? If he was searching for a canidate for HIMSELF, he would have to put into the picture if Bandit would agree with this new dog. HELLO!?!?!

    I believe the article said something about him going to retrieve matierals from his unit at 10 AT NIGHT. I don’t know about you, but wouldn’t someone in the family ask, especially the children, “Hey, where’s Bandit?”

    Just a little fishy to me.

    And another thing that bothers me is that everyone is harping on Sherrif Joe. He did the right thing. He put the man in custody. Everyone is saying “Oh, give Ofc. Lovejoy a break, he was obviously upset about it”. But still. It’s still animal cruelty.


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