CACHE COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 12, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A former Cache County Sheriff’s Deputy has pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to an animal in the heat-related death of Endy, the K-9 service animal he was assigned.
Jason Whittier, 36, admitted leaving Endy, an 8-year-old Malinois, in the back of his patrol truck about noon on July 3, and the end of a shift.
At about 11:30 p.m. that day, when Whittier noticed the dog was not in his outdoor kennel, the deputy returned to the patrol truck, which had been parked in the sun on a 94-degree day, according to a probable cause statement in the case.
The dog was deceased.
“Distraught, Deputy Whittier contacted his supervisor and informed him of the circumstances,” the statement says. “Investigators responded to the scene. Endy’s remains were transported to Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and analyzed for cause of death.
“According to the report from the lab, ‘(n)ecropsy findings, taken with the history of the dog being left in a close vehicle during the day, suggested fatal heat stroke as the cause of death.’ Deputy Whittier failed to remove Endy from his patrol truck upon returning to his home after his shift. As a result, Endy was exposed to fatal temperatures of heat for several hours, and died.”
Cache County Sheriff’s officials originally did not reveal the cause of the K-9’s death. When the cause was revealed, the dog’s death generated worldwide headlines and significant social media outcry.
Whittier was put on administrative leave, and later lost his job, according to sheriff’s officials. He originally pleaded not guilty to charges, but changed his plea on Oct. 2.
Aggravated cruelty to an animal is a class-B misdemeanor. Whittier will be sentenced on Nov. 13, and faces zero to 180 days in jail and a fee of up to $1,000.