Officer avoids jail time after death of K-9 - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Officer avoids jail time after death of K-9

Sgt. Brett Harrison and K-9 Beny. (Source: Montville Township Police) Sgt. Brett Harrison and K-9 Beny. (Source: Montville Township Police)
K-9 Beny (Source: Montville Township Police) K-9 Beny (Source: Montville Township Police)
Trial complete in Montville Township. (Source: WOIO) Trial complete in Montville Township. (Source: WOIO)
MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - A Montville Township police officer who faced two counts of animal cruelty has been found guilty of one count, but not guilty of the second, in the death of his K-9 partner, Beny.

As a result, a judge fined Sgt. Brett Harrison $500 and ordered him to pay court costs.

Sgt. Harrison was accused of leaving his police dog, Beny, in his cruiser for four hours with the windows rolled up. The 2-year-old German shepherd died from heat stroke on Sept. 28, 2014.

Attorney Avery Friedman says this case has a similar impact for many animal lovers as a person being left in a hot car. Friedman has represented several animal rights cases.

"We've seen cases of moms and dads leaving their infants in automobiles in the heat that has resulted in death," said Friedman. "We're still unsure if we should treat animals like humans. Is the state of American animal rights law evolving? Yes it is." 

Harrison testified in court that it was a horrible accident. The defense believes he was overcharged. Prosecutors painted a different picture saying his actions were criminal. 

"I think a lot of people will say justice is done. But for those people who think that animals should be treated like people, they are going to be very disappointed," said Friedman. 

Harrison's trial lasted just one day. The judge found Harrison guilty under a section of the statute dealing with depriving animals of sufficient shelter. He was ordered no jail time.

Sgt. Harrison was suspended for two weeks without pay for violating department policies and procedures.

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