Woman arrested for leaving dog in unattended vehicle

Woman arrested for leaving dog in unattended vehicleRIDGECREST POLICE DEPARTMENT — On Tuesday, June 18, Animal Control Officer Shawna Villa-Rodriguez was dispatched to Walmart regarding a dog locked inside of a vehicle. Upon arrival, she found a dog – later identified as Pongo – locked inside a camper shell attached to the truck in question.

The temperature outside at the time was around 100 degrees. A Police and Community Together volunteer also arrived on scene and went inside Walmart to make an announcement for the owner of the vehicle to come meet with Villa-Rodriguez, who also requested the assistance or RPD Officer Santiago Estrada who arrived on the scene shortly after. Both officers observed Pongo to be suffering from distress – panting and panicking.

Pongo’s owner, identified as 22-year-old Sarah Dahlinghaus, was located and met with the officers at her vehicle. Pongo was removed and found to have an external temperature of 109.6 degrees. The inside of the camper shell where Pongo was locked was found to have a temperature of 124 degrees.

Based on Dahlinghaus’s actions, she placed Pongo in an environment which would likely cause great bodily injury or death. Dahlinghaus was arrested and Pongo was taken to the Ridgecrest Animal Shelter for evaluation.

As of Thursday, June 20, Pongo had cooled down, rehydrated and is expected to make a full recovery. The dog will remain in the custody of Animal Control until court proceedings are completed.

It is important to remember that when a vehicle is parked and off, the interior temperature of the vehicle rises quickly.

Story First Published: 2019-06-21