Details emerge in San Juan K-9 death

McALLEN — The moment he received a call from his mother to let him know the car alarm to his patrol unit was going off, the San Juan police officer charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals realized what he had done.

Last Thursday, San Juan Police K-9 Rex died after he was left inside Juan Luis Cerrillo Jr.’s patrol unit for more than two hours, according to the criminal complaint.

Cerrillo, 37, who is currently suspended without pay pending an internal and criminal investigation, left work in his patrol unit at 3 p.m. June 2 and arrived at his residence shortly after, only to leave at 4 p.m. to run errands, the complaint states.

“Cerrillo added that at 5 p.m. he received a phone call from his mother who advised him that the alarm to his work vehicle was going off,” the complaint states. “Cerrillo stated he asked his mother to check for Rex in the kennel next to his apartment, but she advised him he was not in the kennel.”

Immediately Cerrillo drove home and found Rex, who was still breathing and lying inside the back of his unit after he had broken the door off of his kennel, the complaint states.

Cerrillo, a three-year-veteran of the department, called McAllen Police less than 30 minutes later to report what had happened and officers responded to his residence.

“Cerrillo said that he pulled the portable kennel out from the backseat and placed it on top of the truck bed before he carried Rex out of the vehicle and over to the side of the apartment where there was shade and began CPR,” the complaint states.

Cerrillo also poured water on Rex in an attempt to cool down the Belgian Malinois who had been inside the vehicle for more than two hours, according to the police report.

“Inside the vehicle, there was saliva and excessive amounts of fur throughout,” the complaint states.

Officers arrived at approximately 5:40 p.m. and stated Rex was already dead, the complaint states.

The high temperature in McAllen on June 2 was recorded at 93 degrees, according to the National Weather Service website.

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