Cop Who Left Police Dog in Hot Patrol Car Also Investigated in Fatal Shooting of Previous K9: Cops
A former Georgia lieutenant who made headlines for leaving his K9 partner in a hot patrol car, killing the animal, is also being investigated for allegedly having shot and killed another furry friend in 2012.
Chief Marshall Ron Hunton told InsideEdition.com officers are currently investigating the 2012 death of a retired K9 left in former Lieutenant Dan Peabody's care.
It appears the investigation follows the recent death of a Belgian Malinois, Peabody's K9 partner who died after authorities say he was forgotten in a hot patrol car for nearly three hours.
Peabody, 50, was arrested earlier this week in connection with the deaths of both dogs.
Chief Marshal Ron Hunton told InsideEdition.com that K9 Officer Dale was assigned to be Peabody's partner in 2007. In 2012, Dale retired from duty but was then adopted by his former partner.
The Yellow Labrador was only briefly in Peabody's care post retirement when he died.
According to the Chief Marshal, "He initially claimed that (Dale) had choked on a tennis ball while in a crate at his home,
"That was false," Hunton continued. "What had actually occurred was that Peabody had shot and killed the dog shortly after the dog's retirement in 2012."
According to the incident report, Dale "was believed to be approximately 6 years old at the time of his death."
Hunton also told InsideEdition.com that no investigation was conducted into Dale's death at the time.
Earlier this month, Peabody resigned from his position with the Cherokee schools police days after his 4-year-old Belgian Malinois partner suffered heatstroke after being left in the back of a squad car for nearly three hours.
Authorities claim Peabody said he forgot to let K9 Inka out of his car when he got home because his wife sent him an urgent text message to check on another dog in the home. Necropsy reports revealed Inka died that evening of a heatstroke consistent with being left in a car with the engine off and windows closed.
According to officers who responded to the scene, his squad car was not equipped to hold a K9 officer.
That was also when officers discovered Peabody and his wife Tyler Verlander were operating a dog boarding and training facility at their home.
"There were a number of dogs that were there," Hunton said. Verlander has since been cited for operating the kennel business without a license.
"There's no evidence that those dogs were in danger or mistreated," Hunton added. "We found nothing in his training record or work history that would demonstrate (he is unfit to care for a K9), but then again, the investigation is ongoing."
Peabody is currently being held at Cherokee County Jail on a $22,400 bail. He was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a felony charge in response to the death of K9 Inka, and providing false statements to law enforcement officers, a felony charge in response to the death of K9 Dale.
He has not yet entered a plea.