Woman, 24, charged with animal cruelty

Dog, locked inside hot car, was euthanized

May 03, 2008

A 24-year-old woman has been charged with animal cruelty by Baltimore police, who said her dog had to be put down after the pet was locked inside a car for 2 1/2 hours with temperatures that reached 102 degrees.

Lakiesha Tate of the 6800 block of Old Town Brook Drive in Gwynn Oak was charged in a criminal summons that requires her to appear in court, according to Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman. If convicted, she could be sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The Baltimore Health Department issued a statement yesterday warning that a vehicle's interior temperature can rise 40 degrees in one hour, even if the outside temperature is a moderate 72 degrees.

"People should remember that even though it's not summer yet, and our spring has been mild, a sunny day will greatly affect the inside temperature of your car," the statement says.

Police said they were called about 4 p.m. April 11 to the 100 block of South East St., just north of Orleans Street in Southeast Baltimore, for a complaint of a trapped animal.

Monroe said officers found a pit bull in a Nissan Altima with its doors locked and windows up. "The dog appeared to be hot and panting profusely," Monroe said.

Officers forced the car door open, but by that time the dog was unconscious, Monroe said. They gave the animal ice and water and animal control officers took the brown-and-white terrier for treatment. The dog suffered heat stroke and was euthanized April 22, Monroe said.

Meanwhile, officers traced the car to a woman who lived on Dundalk Avenue, who told them her daughter had used the vehicle April 11. On April 29, Monroe said, officers questioned Tate, who told them she had stopped by a friend's house and locked her dog inside the car because the "temperature outside was comfortable," Monroe said.

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