Former Delaware correctional officer indicted in death of K9
SMYRNA — The Delaware Department of Justice on Tuesday announced the indictment of a former Delaware correctional officer and K9 leader for allegedly recklessly entrapment and causing the death of a 4-year-old law officer named Lux on three counts including one felony.
The indictment was secured by the Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust,
“We find these stories so deeply disturbing, not only because we care about the animals, but because we struggle to understand the actions of their abusers,” Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in a statement.
“For most of us, being human means being human. We all recognize that dogs are completely dependent on us and that owning a dog is a responsibility – especially a responsibility to protect it. Children understand this fact.
“The law understands it too. And authority figures should understand it better than anyone.”
According to the announcement, Darrel Wiley, 45, was charged with confining Lux and leaving Lux unattended in a service vehicle for more than four hours while on duty at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in September 2022.
Temperatures peaked in more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit that day, the Justice Department said. When Mr. Wiley returned to his vehicle, he found Lux dead. According to the announcement, the investigation found that Mr Wiley’s wrongdoing was not new: from June to September 2022 he was found to have repeatedly left Lux locked in his vehicle.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, daytime temperatures can rise more than 40 degrees in a parked vehicle in just one hour. During that time, Lux was left locked in the car for up to eight hours.
“K9s of the Department of Correction are valued members of our prison family, and the circumstances surrounding the death of K9 Lux are deeply disturbing and unacceptable,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Monroe B. Hudson Jr.
“The DOC maintains national standards of best practice, implemented through excellent training and required certifications, to ensure our K9s are used appropriately in our correctional facilities and that they receive the protection and care they deserve.
“In addition to the DOC-requested independent investigation that led to today’s charges, our department conducted a comprehensive review of our K9 program to ensure these teams are operating at our facilities to the high safety standards we require.”
The announcement said the Delaware Department of Correction placed Mr. Wiley on administrative leave immediately following the death of K9 Lux, launched an internal investigation and contacted Animal Welfare investigators to conduct an independent investigation.
Mr. Wiley is no longer employed by the Delaware Department of Correction, the announcement said.
Mr. Wiley was charged with one count each of first degree assault against a law enforcement animal, misdemeanor, animal cruelty and official misconduct.
The indictment was secured by Assistant Attorney General Nicole Mozee of the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust with assistance from investigator Timothy Argoe.