The former school police officer accused of leaving his canine partner to die in a hot patrol car is also suspected of shooting another K-9 dog and burying it in his backyard, the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office said Wednesday.
Investigators on Monday exhumed the remains of a dog believed to have been Dale, a yellow Lab, which are now being examined for bullet wounds.
Daniel Peabody, 50, was arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and making false statements, both felonies, Maj. Jamie Gianfala said, in connection with the death of the dog in his car. Peabody’s arrest came 12 days after he allegedly left 4-year-old Inca inside his patrol car on a Friday afternoon. When Peabody returned to his car nearly three hours later, the Belgian Malinois was dead, the marshal’s office said.
“It required a thorough investigation, and we had to follow the evidence,” Gianfala told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Simply walking away from it would not have uncovered the truth.”
Peabody’s patrol car was not equipped to transport dogs, and a necropsy at the University of Georgia determined Inca died from heat stroke, Gianfala said. Peabody resigned from his position with the school system.
While being questioned about Inca’s death, Peabody allegedly made false statements about the death of a former police dog, Gianfala said. Dale, the Labrador retriever, retired from K9 duty with the Cherokee school system in 2012 and was turned over to Peabody, who had worked with the dog for five years. But not long after his retirement, Dale died, and Peabody claimed the dog had accidentally choked on a toy.
“However, the investigation yielded evidence that Dale was in fact shot and killed by Peabody at his Paulding County home shortly after Dale was retired from service,” Gianfala said.
Peabody no longer lives in Paulding. But on Monday, investigators went to his former home and dug up the remains of a dog, believed to belong to Dale. The remains are being analyzed to determine the breed and cause of death.
Bond was set at $22,400 for Peabody, who remained in the Cherokee jail late Wednesday. The investigation continues in the deaths of both dogs, Gianfala said.
Peabody’s wife was also cited during the investigation for operating a kennel out of the couple’s Cherokee home without a permit. Tyler Verlander received three citations, but investigators do not believe any animals were in danger or harmed while in the home.
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