America the Messy Yard Police State
Animal Abuse and Messy Yard Laws selectively enforcedSheriff Joe selectively enforces the animal abuse laws! He doesn't arrest HIS cops for animal abuse, but he did arrest Chandler cop Tom Lovejoy to get him publicity! While we are at it the messy yard laws are selectively enforced the same way. But the messy year laws are much move selectively enforced. You only get a ticket if you neighbor hates you and reports you, or if the zoning inspector hates you!
January 11, 2008 - 3:23AM
Accused cop questions deaths of sheriff’s K-9s
Nick R. Martin, Tribune
Chandler police Sgt. Tom Lovejoy has long questioned why Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies singled him out last year, arresting him in the accidental death of his police dog even though other Valley officers have lost their K-9 partners in similar situations.
Now, the defense team for Lovejoy, since charged with reckless animal abuse, is investigating the deaths of three police dogs that each died at the homes of sheriff’s office employees.
Lovejoy was arrested by deputies in September, almost a month after he mistakenly left his police dog Bandit in the back of his squad vehicle, which was parked in his driveway for nearly 13 hours. The dog died from heat exhaustion.
The goal of the investigation is to prove the sheriff’s office enforces the law selectively, which could lead to Lovejoy’s case being thrown out, according to a motion filed by Lovejoy’s lawyer Wednesday in the San Tan Justice Court in Chandler.
In the motion, lawyer Robert Kavanagh asked the judge for more time to investigate the case.
“The defense believes that the records and witnesses will show that the MCSO, without a rational basis, treated its own employees better than it treated Sgt. Lovejoy under similar circumstances, Kavanagh wrote.
Reached Thursday, Lovejoy declined to comment. Kavanagh did not return a call for comment.
Their team first made a wide-ranging request in October for MCSO records, including the veterinary records of all sheriff’s office police dogs during the past five years.
More than a month later, the sheriff’s office made about 3,700 pages available to them for $936.50.
Then in early December, Lovejoy’s team requested more, asking for records related to the deaths of three MCSO dogs named Dax, Ranger and Brando.
On Thursday, after calls from the Tribune, sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Paul Chagolla sent the records of all three deaths to local media, including a Phoenix New Times reporter who had requested them in November.
The records show each dog died in a different manner, but all died at homes of MCSO employees.
Dax, a Belgian Malinois like Bandit, was found dead and bloodied in Sept. 2000 by Lt. Robert Parrish in his own back yard. The dog had been injured trying to escape from a chain-link kennel, the reports show.
Dax’s regular handler, Deputy Joe McLemore , had left the dog at Parrish’s house while away on vacation.
Ranger, a bloodhound, was found dead by his handler, detention officer Dan Garcia in Dec. 2006. Ranger died in a kennel in Garcia’s back yard from complications of valley fever, the documents show.
The third dog, Brando, a German shepherd, was the only one that, like Bandit, died from extreme heat. McLemore was again the regular handler of the dog.
McLemore called his supervisor that day in Aug. 2004 at about 8:30 p.m., saying he found Brando dead in his back yard kennel. Temperatures had peaked at 112 degrees earlier in the day, the documents show.
McLemore had checked on the dog about three hours earlier and thought it had plenty of shade and water to survive, the report shows. A veterinarian later determined Brando died from heat exhaustion, it shows.
McLemore’s case had other similarities to Lovejoy’s, too.
Both took place in mid-August. Both men called supervisors after finding their dogs dead. And both men also took photos of the scenes before cleaning them up.
In Lovejoy’s case, however, he ended up in handcuffs with his booking photo on national TV. McLemore’s situation didn’t become public until now.
In all three cases with MCSO dogs, the deaths were investigated by the handlers’ supervisors, Chagolla said Thursday.
None of the MCSO workers faced discipline or criminal charges, he said.
Asked for comment, Sheriff Joe Arpaio called McLemore’s case a “different situation” from Lovejoy’s, and said he didn’t think the deputy should face further scrutiny for it.
“The dog, from what I hear, died in the back yard,” Arpaio said. “He was in a kennel and he was only there for three hours.”
He would not respond to the notion that Lovejoy was treated differently than the county’s own police. “We’re going to let the courts decide who’s right and who’s wrong,” Arpaio said.
I was suprised when Chandler police sergeant Tom Lovejoy was busted for cruelity to animals. After all cops are almost never charged with crimes when they get caught doing something illegal. But it looks like in his case Sheriff Joe is doing it to get publicity. Also it looks like Sheriff Joe doesn't arrest his own cops who are guilty of the same crime. Sheriff Joe selectively enforces the law, like they selectively enforce the messy yard laws.
Legal fight in K9 death targets deaths of Sheriff's dogs
A Chandler police sergeant whose K-9 died in a hot patrol car this summer hopes his own animal abuse case can be dismissed by shedding light on the dog deaths of the agency that arrested him.
Counsel for Sgt. Tom Lovejoy filed a motion in court Wednesday saying he will try to prove unfair treatment by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which "treated its own employees better than it treated Sgt. Lovejoy under similar circumstances," including the deaths of three Sheriff's K-9s, the court document shows.
Lovejoy was arrested Sept. 5 by Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies on suspicion of reckless animal abuse, after he forgot Bandit, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois dog, in his patrol car Aug. 11 for more than 12 hours.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference the day of Lovejoy's arrest, saying: "I am certain Sergeant Lovejoy has suffered greatly from leaving his dog in a sweltering car . . . I do not relish the idea of compounding his sadness. However, Lovejoy must be treated like anyone else in similar circumstances."
Lovejoy attorney Robert Kavanagh filed a public records request with the Sheriff's Office in October and again in December for several documents including agency and veterinary records of the Office's dogs - Ranger, Dax and Brando - who died while in deputy care.
Kavanagh wrote Wednesday that the Office had not mailed the records, which cost his client nearly $1,000 in clerical fees, until Tuesday and requested more time to analyze the findings and file a motion to dismiss Lovejoy's case.
The Sheriff's Office on Thursday released three requested dog death reports, concluding:
• Ranger, a Bloodhound, died on Dec. 26, 2006 from acute respiratory failure after battling Valley Fever.
• Dax, a Belgian Malinois, died Sept. 13, 2000 after a reported fall from a kennel.
• Brando, a German Shepherd, died on Aug. 9, 2004 from heat exhaustion, the case most similar to Bandit. Sheriff's Sgt. Joseph McLemore left Brando in a shaded kennel with a full water supply at 5:30 p.m., but when McLemore returned at 8:10 p.m., he found the dog lying in his kennel, dead. The temperature that day rose to 112 degrees.
Kavanagh could not be reached by phone Thursday and Lovejoy said he couldn't comment on the case.
Lovejoy's counsel believes the Sheriff's Office K-9 records will open up other avenues for the case, such as witnesses and records, according to the court motion. Lovejoy wants to dismiss the case by proving "selective enforcement" on part of the Sheriff's Office - that they arrested Lovejoy on suspicion of reckless animal abuse but did not arrest their own deputies in what Lovejoy and his attorney believe is a similar circumstance.
Joey Hamby, a criminal defense attorney not involved in the Lovejoy case, said this type of defense may have some merit.
"I wouldn't care if it was heat exhaustion with a car or a kennel, if this is a dog that died from the same reasons under the Sheriff's care, as a defense attorney that would raise some red flags," Hamby said.
Hamby said the Lovejoy camp is trying to prove a double standard, and although a judge wouldn't give as much weight to another case that is brought into question, "a bias, motive or prejudice" would always be relevant.
Arpaio said Thursday the circumstances were not the same and Brando was left with enough water in a kennel, not a car, and for two to three hours.
"I don't understand why you go back to someone else's situation," Arpaio said. "You ought to be addressing current charges. Bandit was left in a vehicle unattended, so I'm not going to argue the current case to what (Lovejoy) is saying happened years and years ago to one dog in the Sheriff's department . . . apples and oranges."
Lovejoy is scheduled for a status conference on Jan. 30.