Police officer to be prosecuted
THE POLICE Officer who owned the dogs which died in a car on June 30 is to be prosecuted, Our Dogs has learned.
The German Shepherd dogs were found dead in a private vehicle outside Nottinghamshire Police's headquarters as temperatures soared and warnings were issued to all dog owners to exercise extreme caution when travelling with dogs.
Legal proceedings will now be brought against the officer for allegedly causing unnecessary suffering to the animals, the RSPCA confirmed.
Nottinghamshire Police also confirmed the officer has been suspended.
A police spokesperson said: ‘Following a review of the circumstances into the deaths of two police dogs, Nottinghamshire Police has taken the decision to suspend the police officer involved. An internal inquiry is also continuing.’
The Met Office said it reached 28.1ºC (82.5ºF) in Nottingham on the day that the dogs had died and animal welfare experts said that it would have taken just 20 minutes for the air temperature inside the officer's privately-owned car to reach as high as 47ºC (116ºF).
Friends of the police officer concerned have told a national newspaper that he is 'devastated' by his mistake. He is said to be so upset that he has been off work ever since the incident on compassionate leave.
One friend told the Daily Mail: ‘The two dogs were his, and his family's life. The older one was about to retire and he was training up the younger one to take its place. He can't believe what has happened. He left the dogs out in the car while he popped into the office for a few minutes. Unfortunately, he got waylaid and when he came back to the car, they were dead.
‘He's an extremely experienced dog handler - one of the unit's top blokes. He's devastated because he knows that this will be the end of his time as an police animal handler.'
The officer involved is likely to be served with a court summons over the next few days. He will then appear at magistrates' court to answer the Animal Welfare Act charge against him. The crime is so serious that the case could then move to crown court.
The RSPCA has conducted a postmortem on the dogs' bodies and evidence from it is likely to form part of the prosecution.
The RSPCA had earlier confirmed that the force reported the incident to them on the day it happened and had co-operated with the charity in the investigation.
Anyone convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal could face up to six months in prison and a £20,000 fine.
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