LOGAN — A former sheriff’s deputy, Jason B. Whittier has avoided jail time and will serve one-year of probation for the death of a K-9 service dog. Endy died of heat exhaustion last summer, after being left unattended in a patrol vehicle.
Whittier appeared in 1st District Court Monday morning after accepting a plea deal in October, pleading no contest to aggravated cruelty to an animal, a class B misdemeanor. He told the court, he made a mistake, leaving the dog secured in his patrol truck.
“I loved that dog like family,” Whittier said tearfully. “I have lost everything. If I could do it all over, I would loose it all again but the dog.”
Judge Thomas Willmore said he understood Whittier made a mistake. He told him that instead of a jail sentence, he would have to serve 100 hours of community service. He added, half of that time must be done educating the public about the dangers of leaving animals or humans in a hot car. He also ordered him to submit two-pages of polices and procedures to local law enforcement on how Endy’s death could have been prevented.
Judge Willmore told Whittier that he wasn’t trying to shame or embarrass him. He said, if another animal or human can be saved from heat exhaustion, than Endy’s death will not be in vain.
Prosecutor Aaron Jossie described Endy’s death as tragic. He said, as part of the plea deal with Whittier the state was not requesting any jail time.
On July 3, Whittier accidentally left Endy secured in a patrol truck after their shift ended around noon, before taking part in some family activities. Around 11:30 p.m. he realized the dog wasn’t in his outside kennel and discovered his body in the truck.
The Cache County Sheriff’s Office reassigned Whittier, after temporarily placing him on unpaid leave during an internal investigation. He is no longer a deputy and works in construction.
Previously, Sheriff Chad Jensen said Endy’s death ignited a firestorm of hateful criticism nationally. He explained the dogs death was devastating not only to Whittier, but to all of law enforcement.
During Monday’s court appearance, Judge Willmore ordered Whittier to remain on probation for one-year so that he could successfully complete the terms of his sentence. He also ordered him to appear again for a restitution hearing, to determine how much if any, he owes the sheriff’s office to replace Endy.
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