SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Spokane County resident was cited on two misdemeanors for keeping a dog in a hot car at Spokane Valley Mall Wednesday afternoon.
According to Animal Protection Operations Manager Nicole Montano, if the dog had not been removed from the vehicle, the owners could have returned to find a beloved pet had died from heat stress.
"Animal Protection Officer Francie Rapier responded to a report of a dog in a Ford Explorer. When she arrived, she found a basset hound was locked inside and the four windows had been lowered about one-inch. While the outside temperature was 80-degrees, the initial temperature inside the vehicle had already climbed to 97-degrees and the dog was panting heavily," Montano said.
"Officer Rapier made several attempts but was unable to unlock the vehicle and called the Spokane Valley Fire Department for assistance. The fire department was also unsuccessful and APO Rapier made the decision to break the driver's side wing window to free the dog. By this time, the inside temperature was 114-degrees."
Justin D. Dalton was charged with Unsafe Confinement and Animal Cruelty in the Second-Degree. Dalton stated to APO Rapier that he was at the mall to watch a movie with his son.
Animal Cruelty 2nd Degree (RCW 16.52.207) is a gross misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Unsafe Confinement (RCW 16.52.080) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.