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Officer whose K9 died in hot car won’t be charged

PHOENIX — An Arizona Department of Corrections officer will not be facing prosecution for cruelty to animals.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will not press charges against Officer Jesse Dorantes, who left his service dog, Ike, unattended in a hot SUV in April.

The dog died after spending seven hours in the vehicle, which was parked at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye.

Dorantes said he forgot the dog was in the SUV. He had left work early that day in his personal car to go and care for his son, who was sick.

Maricopa County Attorney has decided not to prosecute because there is little chance that Dorantes would be convicted. He said he came to that conclusion after reviewing a 2007 case involving Chandler police officer Thomas Lovejoy and his police dog, Bandit.

Lovejoy was charged with animal cruelty for leaving the dog in his car for over 13 hours. The dog died, but Lovejoy was acquitted in that case.

“We have even less favorable evidence now than what was presented in that previous matter,” Montgomery said.

An investigative report by the Department of Corrections found that Dorantes eventually remembered that he left Ike in the SUV and called his boss to check on the dog. Ike was found dead in the vehicle, in which temperatures reached 98 degrees. The report said that Dorantes has taken full responsibilities for his actions and has showed remorse because of the death.

KTAR’s Martha Maurer and the KTAR Newsroom contributed to this report.