(UPDATED) Montville Officer Charged with Animal Cruelty After K9 Partner Dies in Car Without Air Conditioning

click to enlarge (UPDATED) Montville Officer Charged with Animal Cruelty After K9 Partner Dies in Car Without Air Conditioning
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Sgt. Brett Harrison is charged with two counts of companion animal cruelty (second-degree misdemeanors, per Ohio's archaic Revised Code). The maximum penalty per charge is 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

His arraignment is set for Oct. 29 at Medina Municipal Court.

Originally published Oct. 8

Sgt. Brett Harrison of the Montville Police Department issued a public apology this week, referring back to a Sept. 28 incident when his K9 partner, Beny, died in his cruiser.

When Harrison arrived back at the station that day, he turned the car off and left the windows up — going against protocol to leave the car on and run the A/C. Police Chief Terry Grice told the Medina Gazette that Harrison usually follows such protocol. The high temperature that day was 77 degrees.

According to video surveillance, Grice said, Harrison panicked upon returning to his car four hours later and realizing what had happened. Beny died of heat stroke, according to EMS crews.

Investigations are under way, and Harrison has been docked two weeks of pay and a week of vacation. He apologized and explained his devastation. Beny lived with Harrison and his family.
Dear Township Trustees,

I want to start by expressing my deepest apology to Montville Township, the Trustees, the citizens, the police department, my fellow officers and to my partner, Beny. I'm sorry to bringing this upon everyone. 

I apologize to the trustees and police department for putting you all in this horrible position. I know that it is an unenviable position to have to deal with a situation as sad as this. I'm also sorry for the sadness and grief that youwere put into.

Most of all, I want to say I'm sorry to my partner, friend and loving family member Beny. I wish everyday that I could go back and change that day or that I could put myself in your place. You will always be in my heart and I will miss you every second of every day.

I want you all to know that I will never forget anyof this. Once again, I am sorry.

Brett Harrison
Montville Police Department's Facebook page has become a gathering place for people far and wide to call for harsher punishments for Harrison and to memorialize Beny.


...It's only semi-related, but stories like this always make me think of Gene Weingarten's Pulitzer Prize-winning article on the horrifying mistake of forgetting children in hot cars. It's a terrifying story, but a brilliant piece of journalism. 
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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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