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Hialeah police officer will not face charges in K-9 deaths

Officer Nelson Enriquez accused of leaving dogs in hot SUV after working late shift

HIALEAH, Fla. – A Hialeah police officer who left his two police K-9s in his police-issued SUV in May will not face charges in their death, the state attorney's office announced Tuesday.

Hialeah police said Officer Nelson Enriquez left the dogs in the SUV May 27 after working a late shift. The officer later found the dogs dead inside their cargo transport crates.

A closeout memorandum stated that there was no evidence to support that Enriquez intentionally left the dogs inside the hot vehicle.

Enriquez's dogs included a 7-year-old bloodhound named Jimmy, who came to the Hialeah Police Department in 2008.

Jimmy's focus was finding children, which is why he was donated to the department by the Jimmy Ryce Foundation.

Also killed was 3-year-old Hektor, a Belgian Malinois, who was one of four criminal apprehension dogs.

Davie police investigated the case because the dogs were found outside Enriquez's home in Davie.

Detectives said the dogs were found covered with a blanket that was wet with fluid from the animals. The dogs were later taken to the University of Florida Veterinary School to undergo necropsies.

Hialeah police also conducted an internal investigation, but defended Enriquez from the start, claiming that he loved both dogs.

"This officer Enriquez lives in a wonderful home in Davie," Hialeah police spokesman Carl Zogby said during a news conference after the death of the dogs. "He's got a big backyard, he's got two beautiful kennels in his backyard and he definitely loves and pampers his dogs. They do and can live in the house. He can put them in the kennel when the weather's right, but no, they lived in the house with the officer. They're full members of the family. In fact, I'm hearing his children wouldn't go to sleep if the dogs weren't in the house."

"He took real good care of those dogs," neighbor Skip Shaw said.

According to the report, a neighbor told detectives that Enriquez would leave the dogs in their kennels for long periods of time. But the report said "records do not reveal any form of mistreatment."

"He was very diligent with the dogs, padded the cages that were in the car and took care of them," Shaw said.

Enriquez had been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. Zogby said Enriquez continues to work in administrative duties while Hialeah police continue its internal investigation.

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