Dog euthanized after being left in hot car

BOULDER - A Boulder woman was cited for cruelty after admitting she left her dog in a sweltering car for hours.

AnnMarie Sweeney, a program director at Growing Gardens, told police she took her lab mix named Dune to work on Aug. 4.

According to police, Sweeney said she doesn't usually take Dune to work, adding that she forgot him in the car and went straight to staff meetings around 9 a.m.

"She got very busy at work, got distracted and didn't go back out and check on the dog," says Boulder Police Spokesperson Kim Kobel.

Police say Sweeney did not check on Dune until around 2 p.m. Temperatures were mid 80's that day, and reports say the windows were rolled up and there was no water in the car.

The dog was unconscious but alive when Sweeney rushed him to Alpine Hospital for Animals in the afternoon. Reports show Dune's body temperature was around 107 degrees and his gums and teeth had turned blue from a lack of oxygen flow, an extreme indication of heat stroke. Police say the vets tried to cool the dog down for around two hours before transferring him to Alpenglow Emergency Center, where he was euthanized.

Police say Sweeney was cooperative, open and honest about what happened. Police added that she seemed visibly distraught and emotional about the situation.

By law, Colorado veterinarians are required to report animal cruelty. Boulder Police say both vets did not notify authorities about this case -- instead they were tipped off by an anonymous source.

"I don't know who the anonymous caller is," Kobel said. "But we did follow up with both of those vets and we educated them about their mandatory reporting requirement."

Police say no action will be taken against the vets.

Dr. Matt Booth, the veterinarian with Alpenglow Emergency Center who tried to save Dune's life, says he was aware of the law but his priority was saving the dog.

"It's important that we appropriately deal with the accidents given to us," Dr. Booth says, "We're not judging anybody."

Sweeney was given a state citation for cruelty. If found guilty, she could face up to 90 days in jail.

Police say this case should serve as a reminder to pet-owners about the dangers of leaving animals in cars.

Experts say on a 80 degree day, the inside of a car can heat up to 110 degrees in 10 minutes.

Vets and law enforcement officials say this case should serve as a reminder to pet owners about the dangers of leaving animals in cars.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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