WILMINGTON, DE (DNTV): The DOJ’s Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust (DCRPT) has indicted a former Delaware Correctional Officer and K9 handler on three charges, including a felony, for recklessly confining and causing the death of a four-year-old law enforcement animal named Lux.
“We find these stories so viscerally disturbing not only because we care for the animals, but because we struggle to understand their abusers’ actions,” said Attorney General Jennings. “For most of us, to be human is to be humane. We all recognize that dogs are completely dependent on us and that owning one is a responsibility — above all else a responsibility to keep it safe. Children understand that fact. The law understands it, too. And figures of authority should understand it better than anyone.”
DCRPT indicted Darrel Wiley, 45, for leaving Lux confined and unattended in an official vehicle while on duty at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center for more than four hours in September 2022. Temperatures that day reached a high of more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When Wiley returned to his vehicle, he found Lux dead. DCRPT’s investigation revealed Wiley’s misconduct was not new: from June to September of 2022, he was found to have repeatedly left Lux confined in his vehicle.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, daytime temperatures in a parked vehicle can increase by more 40 degrees in just one hour. Over this period of time, Lux was left confined in the car for as long as eight hours.
“Department of Correction K9s are valued members of our correctional family and the circumstances of K9 Lux’s death are deeply disturbing and unacceptable,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Monroe B. Hudson Jr. “The DOC maintains national best practice standards, implemented through excellent training and required certifications, to ensure that our K9s are used appropriately in our correctional facilities and that they receive the protection and care they deserve. In addition to the independent investigation sought by the DOC which resulted in today’s charges our Department has undertaken a comprehensive review of our K9 program to ensure that these teams across our facilities operate to the high standards of safety and security that we demand.”
Immediately after K9 Lux’s death the Delaware Department of Correction placed Wiley on administrative leave, initiated an internal investigation, and contacted Animal Welfare investigators to conduct an independent investigation. Wiley is no longer employed by the Delaware Department of Correction.
The grand jury indicted Wiley for one count each of Assault 1st Degree Against a Law Enforcement Animal, a Class D Felony; Cruelty to Animals, a Class A Misdemeanor; and Official Misconduct, a Class A Misdemeanor.