State v. Brett Harrison, a case we prosecuted today which was investigated by the Medina County SPCA.
Sgt. Harrison of the Montville Township Police Department in Medina County, Ohio was charged with two counts of companion animal neglect for leaving his trained police dog in his cruiser for 4 hours and 19 minutes, causing the animal to die of heat exhaustion. The high temperature that day was 79 degrees. A veterinarian reported that temperatures inside the vehicle could easily reach 125 degrees or higher, causing significant suffering and ultimately death.
Sgt. Harrison testified that he intended to keep the car running with the air conditioner on. He failed to do so, and failed to notice that the cruiser was not running despite standing nearby talking to other officers for 23 minutes after exiting the vehicle. The windows of the car were left closed. Sgt. Harrison testified that he did not check the temperature during the day, and did not check on his dog during the entire period.
Judge Chase found the Defendant guilty of one of the two counts of companion animal neglect, a second degree misdemeanor. The Judge noted that Sgt. Harrison has no prior criminal history, and no record of disciplinary action while serving as a law enforcement officer, and ordered that he pay a $500 fine.