Sheriff’s deputy who left K-9 in hot car to die pleaded guilty to animal cruelty

Wednesday , October 11, 2017 - 2:23 PM

ANN ELISE TAYLOR, Standard-Examiner Staff

Three months after a Cache County police dog died in a hot patrol car, the deputy responsible pleaded guilty to a county of animal cruelty. 

The deputy also got fired from the department after the incident.

Deputy Jason Whittier pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to one count of aggravated cruelty to an animal, which is a class B misdemeanor, online court records say.

Endy, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois, died of heat stroke July 3 after Whittier forgot the dog in his vehicle for more than 11 hours, a probable cause statement filed in the case says.

The probable cause statement says Whittier returned home from his shift around noon and parked his patrol vehicle outside his Cache County home, leaving Endy inside.

“Deputy Whittier then left his residence to participate in family activities, inexplicably leaving Endy in his patrol truck,” reads the affidavit, completed by Sean Marshall, a special investigator in the Cache County Attorney’s Office. Whittier returned home around 11:30 p.m. and realizing Endy was not in his outside kennel, discovered the animal dead inside his patrol vehicle.

“Distraught, Deputy Whittier contacted his supervisor and informed him of the circumstances,” according to the affidavit, filed Wednesday.

The deputy was originally placed on paid administrative leave, but KSL reported a human resources representative said he was fired Aug. 18.

Whittier’s patrol vehicle had been parked in an area that receives direct sunlight during most of the day, according to the affidavit, and the temperature in the Cache Valley the day of Endy’s death reached 94 degrees.

Experts at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab analyzed Endy’s remains and their findings “suggest fatal heat stroke as the cause of death,” according to the affidavit.

The crime calls for up to 180 days in jail and paying a fine of up to $1,000, documents filed in connection with Whittier’s plea say. Whittier’s sentencing in 1st District Court is scheduled for Nov. 13, online court records say.

Ann Elise Taylor can be reached by phone at 801-625-4213, by email at aetaylor@standard.net or on Twitter at @annelise_taylor.

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