World

South Texas officer charged after leaving police dog to die in hot vehicle

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 17:  A policeman working with a police dog checks a manhole cover at Plaza de Oriente near the Royal Palace on June 17, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  Prince Felipe will be crowned Felipe VI of Spain on June 19th after his father King Juan Carlos abdicated on June 2.  (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 17: A policeman working with a police dog checks a manhole cover at Plaza de Oriente near the Royal Palace on June 17, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. Prince Felipe will be crowned Felipe VI of Spain on June 19th after his father King Juan Carlos abdicated on June 2. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)  (2014 Getty Images)

A South Texas officer is accused of leaving his police dog to die in a hot vehicle as temperatures outside rose into the 90s.

San Juan police Officer Juan Cerrillo Jr. was charged Friday with cruelty to non-livestock animals in the death of Rex, a Belgian Malinois (MAL'-ihn-wah). Cerrillo is free on $4,000 bond.

Cerrillo called 911 from his McAllen home Thursday after finding Rex unresponsive in the unmarked vehicle.

San Juan police Chief Juan Gonzalez suspended Cerrillo without pay. Gonzalez says Cerrillo is an experienced K9 handler but the dog's death is an "unacceptable loss for the department."

Internal and criminal investigations are underway.

More On This...

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, representing Cerrillo, declined comment Tuesday but said the officer has received commendations for his police work.

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter & Instagram