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Sunday, Jul 31, 2011County: Lane
Alleged: Tiffany Douglass-Walker
A Eugene woman is charged with animal neglect after leaving her five-year-old pug locked in the car for too long.
The dog had to be euthanized.
"It's my dog. I mean it's our dog, of course we feel bad," said L. Walker, the dog's owner.
Lenny was euthanized after police say he was left baking in a parked car.
L. Walker says his wife had run into Walmart on West 11th, but her errand took longer than planned.
"I didn't see anything wrong with her leaving the dog as she went to pick up the prescription," L. Walker said.
But police say at the time it was about 84 degrees outside, and many degrees hotter inside the car.
So by the time the owners arrived, it was too late.
Lenny was braindead and had to be put down.
"That's the unfortunate type of thing that the temperatures can reach oven-like temperatures," said Captain Rich Stronach, Eugene Police.
So on a fairly nice day outside in the high 70s, low 80s with a slight breeze, it's much hotter inside a car.
KEZI used an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature inside the car. It showed a scorching 114 degrees.
"If they love their animal so much, they need to leave it at home so it can be there when they get home to greet it," Becky Von Stein, Lane County Animal Service (LCAS).
LCAS says even a cracked window isn't enough.
Temperatures inside a car can still reach triple digits, and that's no way to treat any living thing.
"People who may have had the greatest of intentions of trying to help or assist because they saw a dog in duress, I applaud that," L. Walker said.
But Walker says while he feels terrible for his wife's mistake, he's shocked bystanders at Walmart who called his wife names and threatened her physically.
"You have no right to judge us. You have no right to say anything to us other than sorry for your loss. And if you don't have that to say, then keep pushing because I don't know you and we don't care about you," L. Walker said.
KEZI also asked the owners if they would ever leave a dog in a car again. They said they couldn't really think about that, but it would depend on the situation and the dog.
In the incident on Sunday, the dog reportedly had been in the car for about one hour and 20 minutes while the owner shopped inside.
The dog's owner, Tiffany Douglass-Walker, 36, was cited for second-degree animal neglect and released.
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