AUSTIN - A 10-week-old shepherd/husky mix puppy is recovering at the Austin Animal Center after she was left in a scorching hot car without any way to get out Saturday afternoon.
Annabelle's owner, 20-year-old Chandler Allen Bullen told police he left her in the car without power because he didn't "want to waste gas." He is charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals.
Despite the rough 24 hours the puppy endured, Austin Animal Center Veterinarian Dr. Kathryn Lund said Annabelle is doing quite well. In fact, as soon as she was brought into the center, her temperature was normal again.
“She's running around the exam room, wagging her tail -- she ate all of her food." Dr. Lund said. "She's very healthy. She’s very lucky.”
The staff at the center said they can receive an influx of cases like Annabelle’s almost monthly, especially during summer when the threat increases.
"When we find these animals in the car, they are either on the ground or on the floor board, at the lowest point of the car because obviously heat rises," said Austin Police Animal Cruelty Officer Alan Schwettmann. "I'm not sure what people are thinking --maybe they're thinking they're going into a location and just going to be there for a minute."
He said a normal temperature for a dog is 102.3 degrees. But when they reach 107 degrees, it's extremely dangerous.
"Once they get into heatstroke, it's really difficult to get them back,” Austin Animal Center Vet Dr. Kathryn Lund.
If a pet is in a situation where they could experience heatstroke or death under an owner's care, penalties range from paying hundreds in fines to a felony.
Bullen is in the Travis County jail on a $4,000 bond.
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