A now-former Georgia police officer was arrested on June 22nd for the deaths of two K9 police dogs.
50-year-old Officer Dan Peabody is being held on charges of aggravated animal cruelty and making false statements to police. The charge of aggravated cruelty to animals stems from his having left Inca, his 4-year-old Belgian Malinois K9, in a hot patrol car with no ventilation, with the vehicle off. Inca died from heat exhaustion.
The false statement charge, on the other hand, relates to the death of Dale, a retired K9 Yellow Lab in his care. Heâ€™d claimed that Dale had choked to death, but authorities later determined it had been shot.
He was given a $22,400 bond, but remains in jail. His first court appearance is set for June 23rd.
Authorities say he left Inca in a hot patrol car for three hours on June 10th while he went to â€œdeal with another dogâ€ inside the home. He eventually remembered Inca was in the car and found the dog dead.
Marshal Chief Ron Hunton said in a press conference,â€œThis vehicle was not equipped with alarms. It was not equipped with a kennel. It wasnâ€™t equipped in the manner that you see normally in a K9 vehicle. I certainly have to say that, obviously, that had an impact on this.â€
The other incident actually happened back in 2012, when Peabody told cops that Dale had choked to death on a ball. It was when Inca died that tips started coming in about Dale to the Cherokee Sheriffâ€™s Office.
A Sheriffâ€™s spokesperson said a third set of animal remains were found at a home he lived in roughly a year ago, though theyâ€™re not sure how that animal died or what the animal even was. Theyâ€™re relatively sure, however, that the remains are a dog. A forensic veterinarian is investigating the cause of death and the breed.
On June 16th, before any charges had been filed against Officer Peabody, he resigned from the force.
On June 22nd, it was also announced that Tyler Verlander-Peabody, his wife, was running an illegal dog kennel out of their home.
â€œShe didnâ€™t have a business license, nor was the home zoned or permitted for this type of use. There were no indications or reasons to believe that any animals were in danger or harmed while at the home,â€ a spokesperson for the Cherokee County Marshallâ€™s Office told a local news station.