State / Regional

Dog dies after being locked in hot car for hours outside an Alabama Walmart

TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) - Police say a dog died Wednesday after being left for hours in a car parked at the Walmart in Trussville, Alabama.

Outraged comments poured in on a Facebook Live that documented the dog's removal from the locked vehicle.

CBS 42 spoke to Trussville Police Lt. Phil Dillon to learn what happened. Dillon says they believe the car was parked in the Walmart lot around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning according to Walmart surveillance video; he says Trussville Police received the call reporting the dog in a vehicle around 11 a.m.

According to Dillon, the officer who responded to the scene got the tag information, then went in Walmart to try and find the owner. After learning the owner was not in the store, he reportedly returned to the vehicle and contacted his supervisor, who arrived on the scene in about 2 minutes and broke the window to the sedan.

CBS 42 Storm Team Meteorologist Sarah Cantey says in Trussville, temperatures reached the upper 80s in the 11 o'clock hour, but when factoring in humidity and the parking lot pavement, the temperature outside the vehicle would feel like the upper 90s. 

Officers removed the dog from the car. The dog was still breathing when it was rescued from the car, but later died.

According to Lt. Dillon, the woman who owns the vehicle lists a Trussville address on her driver license, and, according to Walmart, is not one of their employees. It is currently unknown where the owner was for the hours the dog was left in the parked car. 

Dillon says she finally came to her car about an hour after they removed the dog and was informed charges will be filed. Dillon was unsure what the charge or charges will be.

CBS 42 asked Lt. Dillon about some of the comments on social media, where commenters were asking why officers didn't break the window sooner.

He declined to comment specifically about what the law allows, deferring to an official press release that he says will be sent to media on Thursday or Friday.

CBS 42 also asked Dillon about the approximate time the dog was pulled from the car by officers. Dillon responded he will not have that information to release until Thursday or Friday.

Animal advocates of Alabama said the state Good Samaritan law, which allows anyone to break into a car if they see a person inside a hot car distressed, does not apply to animals. They want to see that change. 

"What we forget is a dog has to live in our world, but we don't live in a dogs world so there is a breakdown in communication. Just because they don't have the same language as us, they do have a language, and they know when they're too hot and they know when they're sick and they know when they're about to die. How anyone can allow that to happen is truly behind my comprehension," said Veronica Kennedy, with Animal Advocacy for Alabama. 

 


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