LINCOLN – A 30-year-old Cumberland woman faces a charge of mistreatment of animals after allegedly leaving a small dog unattended in a hot car on Monday.
Patrolman Kevin Marcoux reported being called to the vehicle by Twin River Security at approximately 6:15 p.m. The small dog could be seen in the front seat of the vehicle with the windows down a small amount, according to Marcoux. No water appeared to have been left in the vehicle for the dog, he added.
A passerby had spotted the dog in the vehicle and notified Twin River Security about its plight. Marcoux said a check showed the outdoor temperature to be 87 degrees.
Due to the extreme heat and the way the dog was panting inside the vehicle, Twin River Security unlocked the vehicle and removed the animal, according to Marcoux. Marcoux took the dog back to the Lincoln Police office at the casino and gave it water.
Jenni Barrette, of Leach Street, Cumberland, was charged with the misdemeanor after arriving at the security office at about 7 p.m. while looking for the pet.
Barrette told police her boyfriend had left the dog in the car but was no longer at Twin River. She was issued a summons to appear in Third District Court to answer the mistreatment of animals charge, police said.
The R.I. Department of Health website page on heat dangers contains warnings that children, the disabled, elderly people and pets should never be left unattended in vehicle during warm weather due to the fact temperatures inside a closed vehicle reaching dangerous levels in as little as ten minutes. The federal Center for Disease Control notes that even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Interior temperatures of a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees even with the windows open. Anyone left inside a vehicle in those conditions is at risk for serious heat-related illness or even death, the CDC reports.