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Updated May 28, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Officer whose K9 died in hot car won't be charged

PHOENIX -- An Arizona Department of Corrections officer will not be facing prosecution for cruelty to animals.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office will not press charges against Officer Jesse Dorantes, who left his service dog, Ike, unattended in a hot SUV in April.

The dog died after spending seven hours in the vehicle, which was parked at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye.

Dorantes said he forgot the dog was in the SUV. He had left work early that day in his personal car to go and care for his son, who was sick.

Maricopa County Attorney has decided not to prosecute because there is little chance that Dorantes would be convicted. He said he came to that conclusion after reviewing a 2007 case involving Chandler police officer Thomas Lovejoy and his police dog, Bandit.

Lovejoy was charged with animal cruelty for leaving the dog in his car for over 13 hours. The dog died, but Lovejoy was acquitted in that case.

"We have even less favorable evidence now than what was presented in that previous matter," Montgomery said.

An investigative report by the Department of Corrections found that Dorantes eventually remembered that he left Ike in the SUV and called his boss to check on the dog. Ike was found dead in the vehicle, in which temperatures reached 98 degrees. The report said that Dorantes has taken full responsibilities for his actions and has showed remorse because of the death.

KTAR's Martha Maurer and the KTAR Newsroom contributed to this report.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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