Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - While DPS officer Korey Lankow struggles with the death of his K9 partner, a Chandler police officer tells 9 on your side he knows exactly what Lankow is going through.
Vets had to euthanize Lankow's dog, Jeg, after Lankow accidentally left him in a DPS cruiser for more than an hour on Wednesday. Jeg isn't the only K9 officer to die in his partner's care. Five years ago, Chandler Police Sgt. Tom Lovejoy did the same thing. When he heard about Lankow's case, he drove down to see him.
"It brought up a lot of memories and feelings for me, and so knowing where he was at I wanted to be there for him," Lovejoy told 9 On Your Side, "He's having a really really hard time and I can tell you this based on what happened to me, I was my own worst enemy."
In 2007, Lovejoy accidentally left his K9 partner, Bandit, in a car for more than 12 hours outside his home. Bandit died and investigators charged Lovejoy with animal cruelty.
Lovejoy says at the time, his department was in the middle of a big case. He explains the dispatcher called him out the night before at 2a.m, but when dispatch canceled the call and he returned home, a lack of sleep and concentration led to the tragic mistake.
"We push ourselves too far," he said, "And that's kind of what was going on with me and I know that's what was going on with Korey because his story is almost identical to mine."
Lovejoy faced harsh criticism even after he was acquitted. He got death threats from people as far away as Florida. Some of the comments now aimed at Lankow from 9 On Your Side viewers have been similar. Lovejoy explained his reaction to those comments.
"It's a difficult thing and like I said he's going to be his own worst enemy. People can say all the nasty things that they want but at the end of the day he's going to have to deal with this for the rest of his life," he said, "and I know I deal with it on a daily basis, there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it."
Lankow is still under investigation according to DPS. So far, the department has not filed any charges.