Twelve-year-old Emma Kightlinger and her 9-year-old brother, Evan, were at the Walmart on Kildaire Farm Road with their grandmother Tuesday when they spotted a little dog in a car.
The trio waited 15 minutes for the driver to return before calling police.
“I love dogs, so I was really scared it was going to get heatstroke or something,” Emma Kightlinger said. “I was sitting here going, ‘Is this dog going to die?’”
Animal Control rescued the dog and tested the temperature in the car—it was 135 degrees. Temperatures at or above 70 degrees inside a car can be deadly.
A door to the car was unlocked, so the officers were able to get inside. An officer is legally allowed to break a car window if he or she believes an animal is in danger.
The driver of the car, Darlene Gordon, returned 55 minutes after the family first spotted the dog and was given a citation for "conveying the animal in a cruel manner."
Jose Luis Rizzo Meza was cited at the same Walmart on June 18.
“The fact is they're running into the store. They're taking a lot longer than they thought,” said Shelly Smith, Cary Animal Control supervisor. “It's a lot hotter outside than they thought, and then when they come out, I'm out there to greet them, or their dog is in there baking.”
Smith said, depending on the temperature, a dog can be fatally injured in only a matter of minutes.
“This is not the time of year to be doing that,” she said “You can’t take them out in this? type of weather.”
Cary police also charged Brisha Gilbert with animal cruelty after a dog was left in her car over the weekend at South Hills Mall on Buck Jones Road.
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