LAUREL, Ind. – A former police officer in Indiana pleaded guilty this week to animal cruelty for a case involving the neglect of his police-issued K9, resulting in the dog’s death.
Clinton Ellis, 25, pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 365 days in jail. However, 311 of those days were suspended to probation. Moreover, he was also ordered to pay $11,000 in restitution costs.
According to the Batesville Herald Tribune, another police officer found K9 Blade dead in his cage at Ellis’ home on Jan. 1, 2018. The officer noted the dog had “lost a significant amount of weight, was not being taken out regularly and was left to wallow in his cage among his urine and feces” while under Ellis’ care.
K9 Blade had been in Ellis’ care since August 2017, reported WTHR.
According to police, Ellis reportedly put the dog’s body in a trash bag after it died and threw the bag in a dumpster. Witnesses told WTHR that Ellis later removed the body from the dumpster and put it in a barn until investigating officers picked it up.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources launched an investigation into K9 Blade’s death.
According to WTHR, through the investigation, Officer Corey Norrod learned more about K9 Blade’s declining health and horrible conditions he was kept in.
“There was zero doubt that (Ellis) neglected and mistreated that poor dog. Under the circumstances of this case, though, it is only a misdemeanor offense,” Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Huerkamp told WTHR.
Animal cruelty charges in Indiana only become a felony if the suspect has a prior conviction for the same offense.
At the time of his conviction for the animal cruelty case, Ellis was already serving jail time for an earlier theft case, reported KMOV4. He pleaded guilty in December to two felony larceny charges involving unlawfully seized guns and missing cash while he was a Laurel reserve officer.
In that case, he was sentenced to six months in jail and a year of probation. According to Huerkamp, Ellis has been jailed since receiving the sentence in December and will remain incarcerated until both sentences, including the animal cruelty conviction, are complete.