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Former Bexar County K-9 handler on trial for animal cruelty in death of dog

Duke and his K-9 trainer Ebony Jones in 2010. Rest in peace Duke.
Bexar County Sheriff's Office

Former Deputy Ebony Jones' trial began on Tuesday in a San Antonio courtroom for the suspicious death of five-year-old K-9 Duke, a yellow Labrador retriever, who allegedly died from heat stroke reported

Prosecutor Jessica Frazier, told the jury Duke's body temperature registered at 107.5 degrees two hours after the dog was found dead in Jones' patrol car on June 16, 2010. At the time, the canine officer with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office left the dog in the car in 90 degree outside temperature for 15 to 30 minutes to do paperwork in the office. Jones stated the vehicle's air conditioning had been running. Duke was dead when Jones returned to his car.

Jones' initially stated the dog was ill, and he was preparing to take the dog to the vet. A necropsy performed on Duke stated the dog died of heat exhaustion.

The story, however took another cruel twist of cruelty and neglect on Tuesday after testimony from Animal Care Services according to The investigator introduced photos that:

"showed clumps of dog hair, scattered about the dog kennel in the vehicle. The ACS investigator said there were signs on Duke's skin of heat exhaustion, fecal matter stuck in the dog's coat, and a rusty choke collar around his neck that had been in place long enough to stain the dog's fur."

Other statements about abrasions found on Duke's feet and hemorrhaging in the dog's ears were also introduced as evidence.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office initially rejected any claims of animal cruelty, but one-and-a-half-years later indicted Jones for "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" placed Duke in circumstances that caused the dog's death.

If found guilty, Jones faces from six months to two years in jail.

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