DPS K-9 "Jeg" trapped in hot car much longer than first thought
The animal was euthanized when it was clear he would not recover. Prosecutors will not pursue felony animal cruelty charges against the officer who forgot Jeg. Video by kgun9.comvideo
DPS Officer Korey Pankow is back on patrol. County prosecutors say they won't pursue felony animal cruelty charges because there's no evidence he intended to hurt Jeg. City of Tucson prosecutors still have the option to pursue misdemeanor charges.
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Jeg, the DPS police dog who died as a result of being left in a hot patrol car, sat forgotten in that car two, maybe three times longer than we were first told.
Locked in a patrol car---in the heat of mid July, hurt Jeg so badly, vets trying to save him conceded they couldn't, and euthanized him.
At first DPS said the dog was in the car about an hour before Officer Korey Lankow rushed back to rescue his canine partner.
Now a letter from the Pima County Attorney's Chief Deputy shows the dog was in that car much longer. The letter to DPS director Robert Halliday says investigation showed Officer Lankow started work about 9:30 that morning, discovered his regular patrol car was back from an oil change and started moving out of a loaner car.
Sometime after 9:30 Lankow shut off and locked the loaner car with Jeg still inside.
It was certainly before 10:32 when Officer Lankow responded to an accident call. At that call he talked with a paramedic as if he thought his dog was with him, safe in his car.
At 10:55 Lankow left the accident and spent about an hour patrolling Nogales Highway. That makes it 11:55. Then he returned to the DPS station for more ticket pads.
When he got back in the car at the station he realized Jeg was not with him. He called for help on the radio as he rushed to rescue the dog still in the loaner car. That was 12:17--meaning Jeg was in the hot car at least an hour and 45 minutes--maybe longer.
KGUN9 News DPS why it originally said the dog was trapped for about an hour.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked DPS spokesman Bart Graves: "Why the disparity there?"
Graves: "That's what investigations do. That's why we asked the media to give us the time to let our investigators and in this case, the county attorney's office, Tucson Police and our own special investigations unit to assess the pertinent facts, uncover all the details, do an extensive interview with the officer, talk with other witnesses. We have more information, new information, that's what we have now."
The County Attorney office said it will not prosecute Officer Lankow for felony animal cruelty because there no evidence he meant to leave the dog in the car.
The city of Tucson has the option to press a misdemeanor cruelty charge; no word yet on whether it will do so.