A South Florida cop who left two dogs inside his patrol car while he napped inside his home will not face criminal charges.
After all, investigators said, Hialeah police officer Nelson Enriquez did not intend to kill the dogs.
And intent, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, is a requirement to proceed with criminal charges.
At least when it comes to police officers in Miami-Dade because there have been several cases nationwide where people have been charged with animal cruelty for accidentally leaving their dogs to die in heated cars – including two police officers.
In fact, it was only last week that a couple were arrested in Florida on animal cruelty charges after leaving their dogs died in a heated car to die as they shopped in a Tampa mall.
And in July, a New York man was arrested on animal cruelty charges after leaving his two dogs in the car while he and his family attended a balloon festival. By all accounts, it does not appear that Yu Inamoto intentionally left his dogs in the car to die.
In June, a California woman was arrested on animal cruelty charges after her dog died in a heated car. Victoria Williams pleaded not guilty, so it does not appear she intended to kill the dog.
In 2014, another California woman, Charu Lata Khann, was arrested on felony animal cruelty for leaving her dog in the car overnight where it ended up dying. Khann pleaded not guilty.
Even police officers have been arrested on animal cruelty charges for leaving their dogs in heated cars where they ended up dying.
In 2007, an Arizona police officer named Tom Lovejoy from the Chandler Police Department was arrested for just that, but he was found not guilty the following year.
Earlier this year, an Ohio cop named Brett Harrison from the Montville Township Police Department was not only charged, but convicted for animal cruelty for the same thing, but he was only fined $500 and allowed to keep his job.
So it’s not necessarily a situation where prosecutors must prove intent in order to proceed with criminal charges.
It’s a situation where the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office just does not like to charge police officers.
Besides Jimmy and Hector, the two dogs that died in Enriquez’s car in front of his Broward home, there have been at least eight other police dogs that have died after being left in heated patrol cars this year.
In explaining its decision, the Broward State Attorney’s Office provided a detailed explanation as to why Enriquez will not face charges.
Now read the actual statute and note that state attorney Michael Satz chose to omit the words following “unnecessarily overloads, overdrives or torments,” which reads, “deprives of necessary sustenance and shelter,” which could have easily been interpreted to charge Enriquez with a misdemeanor.
Not to mention the rest of the statute that Satz neglected to mention, which refers to animal cruelty that unnecessarily leads to deaths inside vehicles.