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DPS officer to be charged in death of K-9 partner, Jeg

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

DPS officer to be charged in death of K-9 partner, Jeg

CREATED Aug 22, 2012
Reporters: Craig Smith & Kevin Keen
 
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The City of Tucson Attorney’s Office plans to file one charge of animal neglect against a DPS officer who left his K-9 partner in a hot patrol car. The dog, named Jeg, was so badly hurt, veterinarians put him down.
 
9 On Your Side reported last week the Pima County Attorney's Office chose not to prosecute DPS Officer Kory Lankow on felony animal cruelty charges. Prosecutors decided Lankow did not mean to leave his dog in the car so there was not a case for deliberate animal cruelty charges.
 
Lankow left Jeg in a loaner vehicle when he moved back into his regular patrol car in July. He told investigators he did not realize he'd left the dog in the vehicle until he returned to DPS Tucson headquarters. By that time, Jeg had been locked up in the summer heat for at least 90 minutes and possibly much longer.
 
The statute the city is planning to charge Lankow under is a class one misdemeanor, according to city attorney Mike Rankin. That's the most serious type--just one notch below a felony. Rankin said that offense can carry up to 6 months in jail, a maximum $2,500 fine and up to three years probation.
 
But Rankin said just because jail time is possible does not mean it's always ordered, if a person's found guilty.
 
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked Rankin, “In cases like these, is there generally--is there ever jail time?” “I think it's fair to say I’d be surprised if jail were an issue in this case,” he answered.
 
Keen asked him: “Could one of the terms of any possible probation be that he won't be allowed to own or handle an animal?” “That is one of the possible sanctions that a court could order for this particular type of charge,” Rankin replied.
 
What's the next step, after the charge is formally filed? “The officer will, like any other defendant, have the opportunity to appear in court and contest the charge,” Rankin said, adding Lankow has an attorney.
 
A felony conviction normally disqualifies someone from serving as a law enforcement officer. Misdemeanors normally do not disqualify someone from police work.