Posted on August 1, 2012 at 5:33 AM
SAN ANTONIO – Was it a sick dog… or a case of an insensitive partner?
The I-Team has revisited a case where an officer’s canine partner died in his car and has learned that deputy faces charges of animal cruelty.
“We need to really get this fixed,” said Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, speaking about the death of three sheriff’s dogs in two years.
“It is a terrible record,” Reed said. “They need to take a close look at their K-9 Corps, because these dogs are officers. They are officers as far as I’m concerned.”
The latest incident occurred last week, when two Belgian Malinois, Vegas and Hades, died when their partner left them in the patrol car overnight. That deputy, Steve Benoy, is under investigation. He is on paid leave and reportedly very upset over the death of the animals.
Reed says her office won’t tolerate animal cruelty, as she referenced another case that surfaced in 2010.
In June of that year, a tan Labrador named Duke died in Bexar County deputy Ebony Jones’s patrol vehicle. News outlets were told the dog was chronically ill, and died on the eve of a visit to the veterinarian.
But Reed said a subsequent Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed the dog had suffered a case of heart-worm three years earlier, making it more susceptible to the Texas heat.
And the D.A. said Jones ignored the warning signs.
“We felt that the actions of the defendant were reckless,” she said.
Records show Jones was suspended, then, terminated from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
Two years later, he made a court appearance on animal cruelty charges--the very week two Belgian Malinois ended up succumbing to the heat in Benoy’s SUV.
Meantime, Jones faces a state jail felony charge of animal cruelty. He could face prison time if convicted.