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A Smithfield animal-control officer has resigned after a dog he forgot about died of dehydration or exposure.
The dog's owner, Paula Purser, wants criminal charges filed against the officer.
"I just kept having these dreams she was locked in somewhere and could not get out, and just kept having the same dreams every night," Purser said.
The Smithfield Police Department, which oversees animal-control officers, is conducting an internal investigation and will forward results to prosecutors, said Smithfield police Sgt. Travis Allen. The 4-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, named Lola, was left in an unshaded kennel for almost four days before it was found dead, Allen said.
Purser lives in Hyde Park, whose boundaries are about a half-mile from Smithfield. She said her yard has an invisible fence, but she rarely placed Lola's collar on her because she was trained to stay in the yard.
About 7 a.m. on Thursday, June 23, Purser let Lola outside and the dog ran away.
Purser said that by 8 a.m., she realized Lola was gone and began calling the Cache Humane Society and posting fliers.
A Smithfield animal-control officer picked up Lola who had no tags about 12:15 p.m. near 858 S. Main St.
The officer took the dog to a city kennel that is intended for holding animals no longer than 48 hours, Allen said.
The officer gave Lola food and water when he placed her in the kennel but didn't return to care for her or take her to the Cache Humane Society, as is procedure, Allen said.
"He stated to us that he just forgot the dog was there," Allen said. "The dog ended up sitting there over the weekend."
The animal-control officer didn't work a normal shift on Friday and instead helped the Police Department move into a new building. The dog was discovered Monday. Animal-control officers disposed of Lola's body at the Logan landfill, which has a special area for dead animals.
This week, Purser said she received a call from an anonymous person saying a Smithfield animal-control officer had picked up Lola. Purser was excited when she went to the police station. When she arrived and told staff members why she was there, she was taken to an office to meet with the police chief, Purser said. The chief told Purser what happened and "took full responsibility," Purser said.
The animal-control officer, Allen said, resigned of his own volition. He had been on the job for about five months.
"Obviously, he's just destroyed," Allen said.
Purser has received a letter of apology from the officer.
"I'm sure he's feeling bad," Purser said. "He's lost his job over this. I accept his apology, but I just feel like they didn't follow the protocol."
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