A judge has ruled that Annabelle, a 10-week-old puppy who was left in a hot car, can be returned to her owner.
The Manor Police Department made the announcement after a hearing Thursday at the Manor City Court to determine the animal's custody. Police said the owner will have to pay a fee to Austin Animal Center and he will have to appear in court in 30 days with a report providing proof that the dog has been taken to a veterinarian.
"The Manor Police Department is extremely saddened and disappointed with the court’s ruling today that ordered the release of 'Annabelle' to the owner," said Detective Craig Struble in a statement to KVUE. "The Manor Police Department wishes the best for Annabelle and hope she lives a happy and healthy life."
Police said that if custody had been granted to them, they would have put her up for adoption at the Austin Animal Shelter, where she was taken after her rescue.
Annabelle, a 10-week-old shepherd/husky mix was rescued from a hot car on Saturday in Manor by police after they received a call about a puppy inside a vehicle that wasn’t running. Police said that when they arrived they saw Annabelle panting, crying and appearing to seek shelter from the sun under the rear passenger seat.
Police said that once they rescued her from the car by using the partial opening of the sunroof to unlock the vehicle, she appeared to “be in poor condition” because she had numerous fleas and several lesions.
Reports state that when the puppy’s owner, 20-year-old Chandler Allen Bullen, came back to the car, he admitted to spending 30 minutes inside shopping and leaving Annabelle in the car. Bullen was taken to the Travis County jail with a bond set at $4,000. His animal cruelty charges, a class A misdemeanor, will remain.
Since being treated at Austin Animal Center, veterinarian Dr. Kathryn Lund said she is doing better, her temperature is back to normal and has been “running around the exam room, wagging her tail.”
A Change.org petition has been created urging the court to reconsider the decision. As of Friday afternoon, it had 940 supporters out of its 1,000 goal.