A woman in Tennessee has been sentenced to two years in prison after leaving her dog inside a hot car for more than two hours.
Alexis Cain was arrested on aggravated animal cruelty charges in August, following a July incident in which she left her 3-month-old terrier locked inside her car at a Memphis shopping mall.
It was 99 degrees outside, and as high as 140 degrees inside the car, police noted.
Bystanders noticed the dog and managed to remove it from the car, but it died before they could reach a nearby animal shelter. The cause of death was ruled as dehydration and heat stroke, according to the WREG report.
“You could tell it was on the verge of death,” Madison Ford, one of the bystanders who attempted to save the dog, told WMCActionNews5. “Its tongue was sticking out.”
Local and state governments have enacted increasingly severe penalties for animal abuse over the past 20 years, the Christian Science Monitor reported. But according to the Animal League Defence Fund, “hot car” cases remain a common form of animal negligence.
“This is a victory for animal welfare,” said Andrew Jacuzzi, executive director of the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County, in a press release. “We’re proud to see our justice system take animal cruelty seriously. We applaud this decision and hope to see more stiff penalties like it in the future.”
Cain can return to court Dec. 8 to file for a suspended sentence.
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