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Posted at 01:42 PM ET, 06/22/2011

Herndon man charged in dog’s death

A Herndon man who claimed his dog died in a hot car after Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies ignored his pleas to free the animal was arrested on animal cruelty charges Tuesday, according to Loudoun officials.

Stuart Grimes, 24, was first arrested on May 31 after Loudoun Sheriff deputies were called to the IHOP restaurant in Sterling because Grimes had fallen asleep at a table around 5 a.m., according to authorities. Grimes’ dog, Rex, was shut inside his car, which authorities said had tinted windows that were rolled up.

In earlier media interviews with ABC and examiner.com, Grimes claimed that he repeatedly asked Sheriff’s Office personnel to free his dog, and said that his pleas were ignored.When Grimes was released from detention hours later, he found Rex in the parked car, dead from heat stroke, according to officials.

Loudoun County Sheriff’s officials said deputies were never told that Rex was in the car.

Grimes did not return calls for comment.

An investigation by Loudoun County Animal Control concluded that there was no evidence to support Grimes’ allegations that the deputies had ignored his pleas, according to a statement Tuesday. Grimes was charged with one count of confinement of animals in a vehicle and one count of animal cruelty – both misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, the statement said.

In response to public outcry over the incident – a Facebook page titled “Justice for Rex” had over 3,500 supporters – Loudoun County Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson addressed the Loudoun Board of Supervisors at a June 7 meeting and said that his deputies had acted appropriately and that they were not told about the dog in the car.

Simpson also noted that Grimes had been argumentative and physically resisted arrest. According to the arrest record, Grimes refused to stand after seven requests by the deputies and was then “brought to the ground where he continued to resist.”

Simpson said it was “disheartening” that so many members of the public had concluded that the deputies were responsible for Rex’s death.

“We wish he had told us,” Simpson said. “We wish we had known that there was a dog in the car.”

Simpson also reminded the Board that any citizen is permitted to break a car window if an animal inside the vehicle is in distress.

“It seems that people are losing sight as to how this started in the first place,” Simpson told the Board. “ A gentleman had been drinking all day and left his dog in the car.”

On Tuesday, the Facebook page “Justice for Rex” appeared to be inactive.

By  |  01:42 PM ET, 06/22/2011

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