SLIDELL, LA (WAFB) - Two women from Gulfport, Mississippi were arrested and charged with cruelty to animals after a puppy was left in a vehicle while the women were shopping.
Slidell Police were called to the Northshore Square Mall parking lot about the puppy. When police arrived, they found the pit bull puppy was near death. Reports say it was 92 degrees outside and the windows of the vehicle were "barely cracked" and was left without water.
The officer broke into the vehicle and found the puppy was extremely dehydrated, lethargic and in need of medical attention. Slidell Animal Control was contacted and they took custody of the puppy.
Police waited an additional 30 minutes for the owners to come back to the vehicle. Reports say 23-year-old Lajessica McKenzie and 20-year-old Carleisha Shelly were placed under arrest. Police say the two girls told officers they didn't think they would be shopping for a long period of time.
"There is no doubt that the puppy would have died if our officer wouldn't have intervened," says Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith. "With the temperatures being as hot as they were, the inside of the car must have exceeded over 150 degrees; even with the windows cracked. People need to realize that leaving a child or animal inside of a vehicle during the summer can be deadly. My officers are instructed to take any action necessary to preserve life, whether it is a child or an animal," says Chief Smith.
As of Monday morning, the puppy was doing well and acting like a puppy. It is undetermined if the two women will be allowed to have the dog back, but as of now, the dog is safe and currently being housed at the Slidell Animal Shelter.
Slidell Police want to warn all citizens and visitors to please take the proper precautions when leaving a child or animal inside of a vehicle during a hot day. According to the website, paw-rescue.org, the inside temperatures inside of a vehicle, even with the windows cracked, can exceed 160 degrees when outside temperatures are above 90 degrees.
Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke.
Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.