THOMASVILLE — A small dog rescued from a locked vehicle Saturday afternoon could have died in the heat, a Thomasville veterinarian said.
Police responded at 4:10 p.m. Saturday to the Walmart parking lot, where the dog was seen in the vehicle's front passenger seat. The caller who reported the dog said the car had been parked for 30 minutes.
Windows were up on the locked Honda Accord. An animal control officer said the dog seemed to be in early signs of distress.
A police officer used a device to unlock the car. The temperature in the interior of the car was 101 degrees, according to a Thomasville Police Department incident report.
The animal control officer was able to cool the dog.
The report stated the police officer tried multiple times to contact the owner in the store by using the intercom system.
The owner, who was located in the store at 4:50 p.m., said she did not realize how long she had been in the store "and did not realize it was that hot outside," the report said.
The canine's owner, Bobbie Dee Smith, 56, 307 Azalea St., is charged with cruelty to animals and released on her own recognizance.
With the temperature inside the vehicle at 101 degrees, the dog's temperature could have reached 104 to 105 degrees.
"It doesn't take long for them to have a heat stroke," said Dr. Beckey Malphus, a Thomasville veterinarian. "Very quickly, they can die. The body temperature could have gone above 106 to 110 before anyone got there."
Police Chief Troy Rich said people are encouraged to report animals left in vehicles.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820