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RI Man Charged with Leaving Dog in Car in 124-Degree Heat

David Rodriguez, 48, of Providence, was the first person charged under a new animal cruelty law in Rhode Island.

Police said a man left his poodle in a sweltering car while he shopped at BJ's Wholesale Club. File photo.
Police said a man left his poodle in a sweltering car while he shopped at BJ's Wholesale Club. File photo.

A Providence man was charged with leaving his dog in a hot car while he shopped at BJ's Wholesale Club in Johnston on Monday. 

Police said the David Rodriguez, 48, left his poodle in his car and the temperature inside rose to 124 degrees, the Providence Journal reported.

Rodriguez was the first person charged under a new animal cruelty law that makes it illegal to leave a pet inside a hot car. Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently signed off on the legislation and the law took effect July 1.

"(The dog) had been there for quite some time," Johnston deputy Police Chief Dan Parillo told WJAR-TV. "It was panting, salivating. Its tongue was hanging out."

The dog was rescued and transferred to the custody of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The law stipulates that it's illegal "for any person to confine any animal in a motor vehicle which places the animal in a life threatening or extreme health threatening situation by exposing the animal to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from the extreme temperature."

Rodriguez was charged with a misdemeanor and could face a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Authorities told WJAR he might not get his pet back.


Cai Kelly July 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Exactly! When I run quickly into Dave's I park in the shade, leave the windows down and fill up the dog's bowl with ice and water. If the shade is not available, I leave the car running with the AC on. I'd be really angry if some judgmental "do-gooder" tried to force their opinion about my treatment of the dog that I adore. This law leaves pet owners wide open for false accusations and interference.
Stephanie St Angelo Chenard July 12, 2014 at 02:39 AM
Common sense??? I'll make it easy to understand. LEAVE THE DOG HOME!!!!!!! Enough said!!!
morlamweb July 12, 2014 at 03:04 PM
I agree, Stephanie! "Common" sense should be to leave your dog at home. What Cai and Michael don't seem to get is that temperatures in a parked car get very hot very quickly, particularly in the hot summer sun. Even four minutes in the shade with the windows open can make it uncomfortably hot in the car. Believe me, if I see a dog trapped in a hot car, I WILL report it. Responsible dog owners do NOT leave their "beloved" dogs in the car!
Samantha Marley August July 14, 2014 at 01:01 PM
My car doesn't have AC. If I can drive around for hours without getting too hot, or sit in the direct sunlight with the windows open and not overheat, I think a dog can survive three minutes with ice water and windows down.

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