A former Delaware Correctional Officer has been indicted for recklessly confining and causing the death of a 4-year-old law enforcement animal named Lux.
Darrel Wiley, 45, left Lux confined and unattended in an official vehicle for four hours while on duty at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in September 2022, according to a statement from the Delaware Department of Justice.
Temperatures reached a high of more than 80 degrees, and when Wiley returned to his vehicle, he found Lux dead.
Wiley often left Lux confined in his vehicle from June 2022 to September of 2022, the DOJ said.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, daytime temperatures in a parked vehicle can increase by more 40 degrees in just one hour, the statement said. Over this period of time, Lux was left confined in the car for as long as eight hours.
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Wiley has been indicted for one count each of assault 1st degree against a law enforcement animal, a Class D felony; cruelty to animals, a Class A misdemeanor; and official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.
Immediately after Lux’s death, the Delaware Department of Correction placed Wiley on administrative leave, initiated an internal investigation, and contacted Animal Welfare investigators to conduct an independent investigation. Wiley is no longer employed by the Delaware Department of Correction.
“Department of Correction K9s are valued members of our correctional family and the circumstances of K9 Lux’s death are deeply disturbing and unacceptable,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Monroe B. Hudson Jr.
Hudson said his department has undertaken a comprehensive review of our K9 program to ensure that these teams across our facilities operate to the high standards of safety and security that we demand.”
Attorney General Kathy Jennings said it was hard to understand animal abusers.
“For most of us, to be human is to be humane,” she said. “We all recognize that dogs are completely dependent on us and that owning one is a responsibility — above all else a responsibility to keep it safe. Children understand that fact. The law understands it, too. And figures of authority should understand it better than anyone.”
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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