Dog left in car dies; Alabama police planning charges

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TRUSSVILLE, Ala - It's a video gone viral and a story we report on too often in the summer months. A dog being rescued from a hot car.

The incident happened Wednesday at a Walmart parking lot in Trussville. Unfortunately, the story doesn't have a happy ending.

Minutes after being rescued the dog passed away.

No matter the temperature outside, the inside of a car can be extremely hot. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the temperature of the inside of a vehicle can increase by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.

"There wasn't really anything you could do," Stacy Guthrie said. Guthrie captured the incident on her phone,.

"It was really sad."

She says people gathered near a vehicle at a Walmart parking lot, trying to free a dog locked inside.

"The poor owner thought possibly that you know, she was doing some good by cracking a window about an inch and leaving water in the vehicle," Guthrie said.

Nothing worked until a police officer intervened and broke the window. The car alarm immediately started going off as the door was unlocked and the dog was freed.

Police Lt. Phil Dillon says a woman parked the car outside the store around 4 a.m., and that the dog wasn't freed until about seven hours later. Store workers paged the driver, but no one responded.

Many tried to give the dog water and shade after it was rescued, but sadly it didn't survive.

"Everybody did the best that they could have done," Guthrie said.

"Hardly a year goes by that we don't have some type of heat-related tragedy," HEMSI training officer, William Hall said.

He said dogs handle heat differently than people because they don't sweat.

"They have to pant which means they have to breath faster. That makes them far more susceptible to dehydration," Hall said.

Hall adds it's not safe to leave anyone or any living thing in a hot car. Young children and the elderly are the most susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

Trussville police are pursuing felony charges against the person who left the dog in the car. They plan to release more information about the incident once those charges have been filed.

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