SAN ANTONIO — A Bexar County sheriff's deputy has been indicted in the 2012 deaths of two police dogs allegedly forgotten in a hot patrol vehicle.
A grand jury on Thursday indicted 46-year-old Deputy Steve Benoy on two misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty. Online jail records Friday did not list Benoy, who's been on administrative leave since the July 2012 incident, as being in custody.
Investigators have said Benoy discovered the two Belgian Malinois (MAL'-in-wah) dogs dead in a county-owned SUV at his residence.
Former Bexar County Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz said Benoy had a routine, but that it was broken that day when the deputy discovered his horse was injured. Authorities believe the deputy drove home, parked the vehicle, went out and forgot to put the dogs in their regular quarters.
Both animals died of heat exhaustion.
"Deputy Benoy has been a dedicated officer during his career; he has never received any discipline during his tenure with the Sheriff's Office. It is my belief that this is a tragic accident however; the Sheriff's Office is following standard procedures in conducting a thorough investigation," Ortiz wrote in the statement.
Benoy, a 23-year veteran with BCSO, had been a dog handler for more than a dozen years, faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
In June 2010, a K-9 was left inside a cruiser that was parked outside the sheriff's training academy. The dog died while being rushed to the veterinarian's office.
Deputies later determined the 5-year-old dog died from pre-existing medical issues.