July 3 claimed yet another victim of heat exhaustion in Utah. This time, the life lost was that of an 8-year-old police K-9 named Endy who served in the Logan Police Department for six years before transferring to the sheriff's office in 2016. According to a report by the Salt Lake Tribune, the Cache County attorney's office has Charged sheriff's deputy Jason Whittier with aggravated cruelty to an animal. This is a class B misdemeanor that could carry possible jail time of up to 6-months or a $1,000 fine.

Dog's death results in criminal charges

This unfortunate accident took place on the eve of Independence Day when Deputy Whittier left Endy in his patrol vehicle, directly under the sun with no shade to protect him.

Endy was then subjected to intense heat reaching 95 degrees for most of the day until Whittier returned home around 11:30 to find that the dog had died.

Before news broke that Whittier was facing charges, he had been placed on unpaid leave and was reassigned to a non-K-9 department. As of Wednesday, Whittier was deemed responsible for Endy's death as he failed to follow police protocol. The incident was nothing more than human error, an error that in this case, had a devastating conclusion.

A warning for pet owners and parents

Summer typically means vacations, snow cones, and relaxation but with record-breaking temperatures, parents and pet owners alike need to take extra caution in and out of their vehicles. Too many children and animals have died after being left in cars with the summer sun bearing down on them.

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Over the past two decades, 800+ children have died due to heat related conditions. This comes at no surprise considering the inside of a car can reach a staggering 125 degrees caused by the "greenhouse effect." For the parent's of these children, the unbearable pain of losing a child is then combined with the terrible guilt of having been responsible for their death.

Even out of the car, the sun can cause severe problems or even death for dogs and young children. Leaving a dog outside all day, tethered to the ground or even in an open yard with no sun protection can be fatal. The ASPCA has come out with tips to keep your pets safe this summer that you can view here on their website. Among the top recommendations are to avoid shaving dogs because their fur protects them from sunburn, be cautious of hot asphalt as it can burn their sensitive pads and keep plenty of fresh, clean water nearby at all times.

For more information on how to keep your pets happy and healthy, please visit the ACPCA website.