Dog found in 130 degree car in JC parking lot - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Dog found in 130 degree car in JC parking lot

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) - An East Tennessee woman claims she wasn't trying to hurt her dog, but now she's facing an animal cruelty charge and is receiving an unusual punishment.

"I'm grateful I got to keep my dog. I wasn't trying to roast him," said Shannon Gibson.

Shannon Gibson, of Sevierville, is the proud owner of her Boxer and Red Nose Pit Bull mix, Buster Brown. She said she takes him everywhere with her.

"We went into Wal-Mart, we left the dog in the car, with the windows half way down and water in the car," said Gibson.

Gibson told News Channel 11 she thought she was being responsible, but when she got back out to her car 45 minutes later police and animal control officers were waiting.

"(It was) roughly in the 90's by the time the owners came out.  Some 30-45 minutes later, the temperature was of a 131.5 degrees and still rising inside the car," said Washington County, Tennessee Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas.

Gibson said, "I love my dog very much, if I knew I was roasting my dog I would have never taken him with me."

Thomas said the dog was visibly hot. You can see in a picture he took the dog was panting. Thomas said by law he can not break the window down unless the animal is dying.

"The dog was extremely hot and panting, its eyes were glazed, it was dehydrated," said Thomas.

Animal control officers said they didn't want to stress the dog out any more, so they let Gibson take him home on one condition, that she talk with News Channel 11 about the dangers of leaving pets inside the car.

"He could tell I wasn't intentionally trying to hurt him... I'm grateful I got to keep my dog," she said.

Nearly a month after Buster Brown was left in the hot car, Gibson went before a judge asking for a court appointed attorney. She said she's going to fight against the animal cruelty charge.

Gibson told News Channel 11 she recently warned a lady who had a Poodle in her hot car about the possibility of animal cruelty charges. Gibson said that lady then turned on the car's air conditioner.

According to animal control officers, the best advice: don't take your pet with you if you intend to leave it in the car.

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