In what can only be described as Vick-style cruelty, Sgt. Tom Lovejoy was booked into the Maricopa County jail for leaving his dog to die in a sweltering police car. The sheriff’s investigation showed Bandit, the police was in Lovejoy’s patrol car from about 9 a.m. to shortly after 10 p.m. Aug. 11.
The Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed that Lovejoy returned home from an off-duty assignment about 9:15 a.m. He parked the SUV outside his home in a county island in Chandler and left Bandit in the vehicle.
Arpaio said Lovejoy and his stepdaughter then departed in a personal vehicle for an errand, during which time he received a call that his stepson was involved in a vehicle accident and needed help retrieving insurance documents. That ordeal took about 40 minutes, Arpaio said.
Throughout the remainder of the day, Lovejoy left the home several times in his personal vehicle and at one point took a nap and then had dinner out with his wife, the investigation showed.
Meanwhile, temperatures outside rose to 115 degrees. Lovejoy did not locate Bandit until after 10 p.m. that night. By that time, the dog was already dead. It is not known yet why Lovejoy did not check on the dog until late at night.
If convicted, Lovejoy faces up to six months in jail, more than $1,000 in fines, probation and prohibition from owning another animal. He also faces possible employment action from the Chandler Police Department and action from the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, or AZ POST.