Last week, we posted up a story about a Phoenix area cop, Sgt. Tom Lovejoy, who was accused of leaving Bandit, his K-9 dog, in a patrol car for more than 12 hours in 109 degree temperatures. Bandit died from the intense heat.
As the investigation continues, more details of the case have surfaced:
- After Lovejoy found Bandit’s body in the car, he called a commander. The commander came to the scene and took pictures of the scene and the vehicle. He then took Bandit’s body to an animal hospital to have it cremated before a formal investigation. He paid the bill by using a city-issued credit card. The commander then cleaned out Lovejoy’s patrol car with bleach and water.
- After the incident, a fellow K-9 officer came to Lovejoy’s house and hid his service weapon because he thought that Lovejoy was so distraught and may harm himself.
- Lovejoy had only slept six hours in the two days leading up to Bandit’s death, partly because he worked two different extra-duty shifts. Throughout the day of the incident, Lovejoy said that he had forgotten that Bandit was in his patrol car due to family issues and lack of sleep.
The commander that disposed of Bandit’s body told investigators that he did that because he thought it was in the best interest of Lovejoy because he was so upset. He also said he thought there would be no need for a criminal investigation because of how a similar incident was handled earlier in the year.
On Wednesday, the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police complained about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s decision to arrest Lovejoy on suspicion of animal cruelty.
Arpaio said that 98 percent of animal-abuse suspects are booked into jail facilities and the rest are cited.
The state police chief’s group said that Arpaio should have only cited Lovejoy because the situation did not warrant a full arrest. They added that Arpaio only arrested Lovejoy for political reasons and to make headlines.
Arpaio said he isn’t going to treat anyone differently because he is a police officer.
When asked if the police officers were trying to cover up Bandit’s death by removing the dog’s body and cremating it, the Chandler Law Enforcement Association laughed. They said that Lovejoy is a good man and they started the investigation immediately.
Lovejoy is expected to appear in court on September 25.
UPDATE: Lovejoy’s wife said that she feels that Arpaio owes Lovejoy and their family an apology for making this situation into a national media event. She said Lovejoy’s record and reputation have been damaged. She also added that her family has received death threats.
Source: Arizona Republic
Photo: AZ Central