Just months after the state of Vermont passed laws about what to do if you discover and animal or person in distress in a locked car, an incident occurs that brings this literal hot-button issue to the forefront.
A Colchester woman has been charged with animal cruelty after her dog, a Labrador retriever found locked in a hot car, passed away.
A call to Colchester police reported a Labrador retriever was spotted inside a car parked in a parking lot along College Parkway. The car’s windows were rolled up. The dog appeared to be in distress. Officer Jesse Treier told WCAX they had to break into the car to free the animal.
“The dog was not responsive to people around the vehicle, including me, when I was knocking on the windows,” he said.
Temperature climb quickly inside a sealed vehicle; Treier says inside that car it was 125 degrees.
The dog passed away later that day.
“They’re like their kids. I mean animals especially dogs or cats even other animals are like children. It’s very tough,” said Treier.
Treier says his police department gets a lot of calls of animals trapped in cars, but he only knows of two cases where the animal died.
Police say Stacey Barrientos of Colchester, the dog’s owner, was charged with a misdemeanor. She will be arraigned in October. Intent, police said, could have made the difference in charging her with a felony.
And earlier Tuesday, a chocolate lab was rescued, via sunroof, by nearby Shelburne Police. The owner of the vehicle was issued a ticket.
Vermont law now states that anyone who breaks into a car for the purpose of removing a child or animal shall not be liable for damages. You should still call police before, but it could mean the difference between life and death of a family pet or even a person.