Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19714
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

County: King County

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: David A. DeJong

A Buckley man accused of letting his 2-year-old golden retriever die of heat while locked in a parked truck has been charged with animal cruelty.

King County prosecutors claim David A. DeJong, 49, left the dog - Nexus - locked in the truck while visiting Nolte State Park outside Black Diamond with his grandchildren. By the time King County animal cruelty investigators arrived, the dog's internal temperature was well above 108 degrees.

Describing the May 13 incident, an investigator told the court a passer-by called 911 just before 5:30 p.m. after spotting Nexus locked in DeJong's truck. The dog was panting heavily and clearly in distress.

A King County deputy arrived an hour later to find DeJong at the truck and the dog dead, according to charging documents.

Speaking with investigators, DeJong said he, his grandchildren and the dog arrived at the park around 2 p.m. He is alleged to have admitted to leaving Nexus in the truck, while claiming he checked on the dog several times during the day.

The dog was taken to an area veterinary hospital, where a veterinarian examining him more than two hours after his death noted that the dog's skin remained hot to the touch.

"This pet would have suffered GREATLY by this event," the veterinarian noted.

The dog's internal temperature was 115 degrees and his body temperature maxed out the veterinarian's thermometer at 108 degrees; a dog's usual body temperature is usually 100 to 101 degrees.

According to charging documents, DeJong again admitted to neglecting his dog as it suffered hyperthermia.

"In the past I have rolled the windows down when I have taken Nexus with me in the car, but on this day I forgot to open the windows," DeJong told investigators, according to charging documents. "It was my responsibility, but I failed."

DeJong has been charged with first-degree animal cruelty. He has not been jailed in the case.


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