Tort Law

County settles suit over prosecution of police officer whose dog died in patrol vehicle

Arrested by a well-known Arizona sheriff, charged with animal abuse and acquitted in a bench trial after leaving his canine partner unattended in his patrol vehicle for several hours in 2008, a Chandler police officer has now settled his malicious prosecution case against Maricopa County.

Without admitting liability, the county has agreed to pay officer Thomas Lovejoy $175,000 and $600,000 in attorney’s fees to his lawyer, reports the Arizona Republic.

A jury trial had been scheduled next week in the case.

Attorney Michael Manning, who represents Lovejoy, contended that County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “vindictive and headline-hungry,” brought the criminal case against Lovejoy despite a total lack of evidence that the distraught officer had intended to hurt the police dog, who was named Bandit. Manning also said his client had been treated differently than several other officers whose dogs died under similar circumstances.

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