Alabama Woman Charged After Leaving Dog In Hot Car In Walmart Parking Lot For 7 Hours

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An Alabama woman is facing charges after leaving her dog locked in a car in the sweltering heat.

KTLA reports that 34-year-old Stephanie Shae Thomas of Trussville, Alabama is facing charges of aggravated cruelty to animals after she left her dog in a Mercedes for an extended period of time on July 4. According to reports, the woman parked her car in the Walmart parking lot at 4 a.m., leaving the dog inside of the vehicle. Before she came out, multiple bystanders tried to free the dog from the car but were unsuccessful. Eventually the police were called to try to help with the sad situation.

When police arrived at the scene, they were able to break the window. Initially, they had tried to locate Thomas to gain access to the car but unable to find her, so they were forced to break a window to gain entry into the vehicle. Police eventually removed the tan pooch from the car but they were unfortunately unable to revive him and he passed away at the scene. Thomas didn’t come out of the Walmart until around 12 p.m. and said that she had “lost track of time,” when she got to her car.

The woman was initially released but was then later arrested the following day on July 5 and she faces a felony animal cruelty charge. Thomas is currently being held in the Jefferson County Jail, where her bond is set at $25,000.

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Following the public outcry from this tragic event, Alabama lawmakers are considering outlawing people from leaving their pets in hot cars. According to AL.com, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston made a post on Facebook regarding his thoughts on the matter.

“A child can’t fend for themselves in a situation like that, nor can a dog or cat. It would basically say you cannot leave an animal unattended under those circumstances.”

He also said that he wants to look into making a law where people are able to smash the window of the car in order to save any pets in a hot car without facing any charges. State Representative Chris England proposed a similar bill on 2017, but time ran out before it had a chance of being passed.

According to PETA, the temperature inside of a car left in heat can rise multiple degrees from the outside temperature in a matter of minutes. Dogs who are left in hot cars can either sustain brain injuries or could die after only 15 minutes of being left alone in the car.

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