South Texas police dog dies in hot vehicle, officer charged

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A South Texas officer has been charged with animal cruelty after his police dog died in a hot law-enforcement vehicle as temperatures were in the 90s.

McAllen police on Monday announced the arrest of 37-year-old San Juan police Officer Juan Cerrillo Jr.

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

Cerrillo was arrested Friday on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals. He's free on $4,000 bond.

San Juan police Chief Juan Gonzalez suspended Cerrillo without pay. Gonzalez says it appears Cerrillo arrived home and didn't remove the dog from the back of the unit.

A message left with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, which represents police officers, wasn't immediately returned Tuesday.