Ex-officer suspected in deaths of 2 police dogs

Daniel Peabody (Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office)

Daniel Peabody (Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office)

Before a former schools officer allegedly left a police dog in a patrol car for hours this month, he may have shot and killed another police dog in 2012, the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office said Wednesday.

Daniel Peabody, 50, who was arrested this week in connection with both deaths, resigned last week from his position as a lieutenant with the Cherokee schools police.

The resignation came just days after a dog named Inca died from heatstroke on June 10. Peabody said he forgot about Inca, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, when he went into his house about 4:15 p.m., Cherokee Chief Marshal Ron Hunton said.

The car, which had no agency-approved kennel or heat alarm system, was not equipped to transport a police dog, Hunton said. When Peabody said he remembered Inca about 7 p.m., the dog was dead.

It was the investigation into Inca’s death that produced evidence suggesting Peabody shot and killed the other dog, Cherokee marshal’s officials said Wednesday.

That dog, a yellow lab named named Dale, was assigned to Peabody from 2007 to 2012 when he lived in Paulding County.

“Peabody initially claimed Dale’s death was accidental due to Dale choking on a toy,” the marshal’s office said in a statement. “However, the investigation yielded evidence that Dale was in fact shot and killed.”

On Monday, investigators found remains thought to be those of a dog at Peabody’s former home in Paulding while executing a search warrant. Those remains are being analyzed by a forensic veterinarian to try to identify the breed and cause of death, the marshal’s office said.

Peabody is in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and making a false statement to investigators in lieu of $22,400 bond.

In a case unrelated to the dogs’ deaths, Peabody’s wife, Tyler Verlander, was cited for operating a boarding and training business without a Cherokee County occupation tax certificate, sheriff’s officials said. Also, Verlander was charged with operating a boarding and training business inside a residential zoned district, and operating a boarding and training business within 75 feet of a residential property, sheriff’s officials said.

Also, the Cherokee County school district did not know of the allegations about Dale’s death until the marshal’s office released the information, spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said Wednesday. She said school police policy allowed a handler to apply to adopt a retiring dog, which Peabody did, and he was granted ownership of Dale.