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Texas police dog dies in hot vehicle, officer charged

Juan Cerrillo Jr.

SAN JUAN, Texas (AP) - A South Texas officer has been charged with animal cruelty after his police dog died in a hot law-enforcement vehicle as temperatures were in the 90s.

McAllen police on Monday announced the arrest of 37-year-old San Juan police Officer Juan Cerrillo Jr.

Cerrillo called 911 from his McAllen home last Thursday after finding the Belgian Malinois (MAL'-ihn-wah) named Rex unresponsive in the unmarked vehicle.

Cerrillo was arrested Friday on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals. He's free on $4,000 bond.

San Juan police Chief Juan Gonzalez suspended Cerrillo without pay. Gonzalez says it appears Cerrillo arrived home and didn't remove the dog from the back of the unit.

A message left with the Texas Municipal Police Association, which represents San Juan officers, wasn't immediately returned Tuesday.

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