(CMR) Police Constable Timothy Munroe, who was charged with animal cruelty following the death of K9 Baron in 2022, was acquitted in Summary Court on Monday, 5 February.
K9 Baron reportedly died from heat stroke after he was left outside the George Town police station in the sun without access to water or food. The decision was made to charge Munroe after the Office of the Ombudsman carried out an investigation and submitted a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The charges initially alleged that Munroe caused the animal's death by failing to raise a sliding gate and, as a result, denied the dog access to food and water. It was, however, amended to state that his actions caused K9 Baron unnecessary pain and suffering.
The magistrate, in finding the police constable not guilty, said the prosecution did not prove that at the time of the incident, Munroe had ill intentions.
According to the Department of Agriculture, The Animals Law (2015 Revision) Section 70(1) states that a person who intentionally makes an animal unnecessarily suffer, works an unfit animal, administers poison to the animal, operates on an animal without due care and humanity or tethers, or confines an animal as to cause unnecessary suffering, abandons an animal commits an offense of animal cruelty and is liable for prosecution under the law.
At the time of the incident, Munroe, a junior officer on the K9 team, was left in charge because senior officers were off. He reportedly followed the unit's policy of cleaning the kennels and ensuring water and food was provided. He, however, forgot to open the sliding door to give the dog access to these.
The court heard he was exhausted, having worked a shift before, and was also feeling ill as a result of having COVID. He did not know at the time that he had COVID-19 but tested positive the following day.