A former Georgia K-9 police officer, who was portrayed as an avid dog lover after adopting his animal partners once they retired, is accused of animal cruelty in the deaths of three dogs, officials said Tuesday.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office recovered the remains of a dog at the home of former Cherokee County school police officer Daniel Peabody. It’s now the third dog Peabody is accused of killing.
Peabody, a 16-year police veteran, was charged last month in the deaths of two other police dogs, including a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois named Inca that died from a heatstroke after being left in a patrol car and the 2012 shooting death of a yellow Labrador named Dale.
“Peabody initially claimed Dale’s death was accidental due to Dale choking on a toy,” the marshal’s office said last month in a statement. “However, the investigation yielded evidence that Dale was in fact shot and killed.”
The paper reported that an investigation into the death of Inca led to apparent evidence that Peabody had in fact killed the second dog in 2012. However, the evidence recovered Tuesday wasn’t of Dale’s, but of a third dog.
Investigators found the third dog’s remains at Peabody’s former home in Paulding. The forensic veterinarian’s findings were released Tuesday, the Journal-Constitution reported.
Chief Marshal Ron Hunton said the remains recovered at the home may have been from the so-called grandmother of Inca.
Hunton said the latest findings won’t affect Peabody’s current charges.
According to The Washington Post, the Peabody case is one of the more bizarre animal cruelty cases because of the circumstances and the expense surrounding K-9 units. It’s a felony to intentionally kill a K-9 and a perpetrator could face up to five years.
Cherokee County Marshal’s Office Maj. Jamie Gianfala told the Marietta Daily Journal last month that Peabody had been working with K-9s for the last five years. When he came from work on June 10 in the early evening, he immediately rushed into the house without thinking about Inca.
He left the dog in the hot car for about three hours and when he suddenly remembered he left the dog in his 2001 Crown Victoria, the dog was dead. The patrol car wasn’t apparently equipped for police dogs, Gianfala said.
Hunton told the Daily Journal that Peabody was noticeably distraught about leaving Inca to die and even had to be taken to a hospital because he passed out after hyperventilating.
About a week after the dog’s death, Peabody resigned.
An investigation into the death started to unravel the deaths of two other dogs.
Hunton said the investigation will continue because it’s the right thing to do.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that in 2013, Woodstock police officer Chad Berry was suspended without pay for more than a week and fined just over $300 for leaving a K-9 in his patrol car where it died.
Berry was reassigned to the traffic department after his suspension and his salary was lowered.