Ex-Utah deputy whose dog died in hot vehicle gets probation
LOGAN, Utah (AP) — A former Utah sheriff's deputy whose police dog died of heat exhaustion after he left it in a vehicle has been court-ordered to spend a minimum of 50 hours educating the public about the dangers of leaving pets and children in hot cars.
Ex-Cache County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Whittier pleaded no contest in October to aggravated cruelty to an animal, a misdemeanor offense, the Herald Journal reported . He unintentionally left his dog, Endy, in the back of his patrol truck in July.
"All I can say is I made a mistake," Whittier said. "I loved that dog like family. I have lost a lot, but to do it all over again, I would lose everything but the dog."
More than a dozen people came to Whittier's sentencing Monday to support him in wake of harsh public criticism he has received since the incident.
Judge Thomas Willmore also received multiple letters vouching for Whittier's character.
Whittier, who was working two jobs, had worked all night at one job and was awakened a short time after he got home to respond to a traffic stop with Endy, letters stated. When he got home from the traffic stop, he rushed off to a family activity, leaving Endy behind in the truck, where he died.
"When Jason realized what had happened he was inconsolable," one of the letters stated. "He went through grief counseling and is still haunted by this extremely horrible accident."
Whittier will be on probation for up to one year while completing his requirements.
Information from: The Herald Journal, http://www.hjnews.com