K-9 DEATH: Animal Rights Group Wants Justice

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An animal rights group is standing up for the K-9 police dog who died in a hot car this summer.

The group says the punishment for the Des Moines officer involved doesn't fit the crime.

On August 29th Des Moines Police K-9 Harley died after he was left in a police cruiser.

Police say Officer Brian Mathis left his partner in the car on a day when temperatures reached 96 degrees.

This week Officer Mathis was given a 3-day suspension without the opportunity to have another K-9.

“Our department has conducted a several month review since the death of Harley, in that process we have looked at the events that occurred that day, we've looked at our policy,” says Police Spokesman Officer Chris Scott.

However, it's that policy and punishment that animal rights advocate Lin Sorenson wants changed.

“He should have had a minimum of a 45 day un-paid suspension, and we are formally asking the Chief that he pay restitution for the cost of the dog,” says Lin Sorenson founder of St. Francis Foundation for Pets.

Sorenson is sending a letter to Chief Judy Bradshaw asking for $25,000 to be re-paid for the cost of Harley.

She says there are several examples of other officers across the country who under the same circumstances faced harsher penalties.

“Bradshaw has demonstrated a double standard in the way she applied the law to this police officer versus how it would be applied to the general public,” says Sorenson.

However, Des Moines police say after a 2 month investigation with legal counsel, they decided against filing criminal charges because they found no criminal intent.

The department says Officer Mathis has taken responsibility for what happened.

“No one was  more devastated, or punished than him, and there's nothing we're going to do that going to punish him more than he's going to punish himself, he's going to re-live this everyday he has re-lived it every day since day one,” says Officer Scott.

Sorenson says she's planning to hold a memorial for Harley and other pets that have died on October 27th at Grey’s Lake from 8:30-10:00 a.m.