Sergeant Tom Lovejoy, of the Chandler Police Department, will serve a two day suspension without pay and will no longer serve with the department’s K-9 unit.
In August, Lovejoy left his K-9 dog, Bandit, in the car for more than 12 hours in 109 degree temperatures. The five-year-old Belgian Malinois died from the intense heat.
The department’s investigation concluded on Friday, and it was determined Lovejoy acted negligently, but not recklessly. In Arizona, there is no law against negligent animal abuse.
Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler released a statement: “In the best interest of the community, and our organization, it would be inappropriate to allow him to remain in a K-9 assignment.” Lovejoy’s suspension was for “conduct unbecoming and neglect of duty.”
Lovejoy wants the situation to be put behind him and he wants to move on. He stated, “I think whatâ€™s very important for people to look at what is the actual law. Negligence is not one of the culpable mental states for this kind of accident.â€
He added that he bought a new K-9 dog to replace Bandit and had hoped that he would work with the dog. Although he is sad that he will no longer be in the K-9 unit, Lovejoy said he is just happy that he still has a job.
Lovejoy is still facing animal abuse charges in Maricopa County. He is scheduled to be in court on Wednesday.