No charges to be filed in prison dog's death

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Prosecutors declined to file animal cruelty charges against the handler of an Arizona Department of Corrections service dog that died after being left in a vehicle for seven hours.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says Wednesday that prosecutors who reviewed the case concluded there wasn't a reasonable likelihood of winning a conviction.

"This was a tragic accident that was preventable and, perhaps to many people, unforgivable. But based on our review of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the incident, the available evidence does not provide a reasonable likelihood of conviction," Montgomery said.

The dog named Ike died April 9 at the state prison in Buckeye.

Prison officials say the 7-year-old dog was found dead in the back of the handler's SUV that was left unattended after he left work early to attend to his sick child.

The dog was inside the vehicle for a seven-hour period during which the temperature outside reached 98 degrees.

The Department of Corrections used dogs for various reasons, including tracking escapees and sniffing out contraband.