Two Port St. Lucie, Florida women have each been charged with two counts of animal cruelty by tormenting, depriving, mutilating or killing animals after they allegedly left two dogs inside a hot car at the Altamonte Mall on Saturday. Altamonte Springs police said that a mall security officer reported the dogs locked inside the car just after 2 p.m.
When officers arrived at the parking lot one dog was already dead. Firefighters tried to save the other dog, but it had to be euthanized. The dogs were male and female pugs.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, temperatures in Central Florida on Saturday were in the 90s. The pugs were trapped inside a black car, which is a color that police said absorbs heat and worsened the pugs’ situation. The windows were supposedly cracked slightly.
The dogs’ temperature was more than 120 degrees.
Security cameras allegedly show the women left the dogs inside the car one hour and 10 minutes before they were found. It was another hour before they returned to the car.
The women were taken to Seminole County jail and freed on $550 bail each.
According to the ASPCA, it only takes minutes for an animal to suffer from a heatstroke or suffocation when trapped in a vehicle. Unlike humans, animals sweat through their paws and cool themselves by panting. A pet’s body temperature can climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels within minutes. Extreme temperatures can injure the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and in jeopardy of eternal harm or death.
Animal cruelty charges in Florida can range anywhere from civil infractions to felonies. If convicted of an animal cruelty charge, you could be facing monetary fines ranging from $50 to $10,000 and the possibility of jail time. If the animal cruelty charge you are accused of is intentional, you could face a felony conviction punishable by five years in prison.
If you have been arrested for animal cruelty in the state of Florida, contact the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).