A dog was left inside of a truck camper shell outside of a Walmart in Ridgecrest on Tuesday and a woman was arrested for animal cruelty.
Around 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon Animal Control Officer Villa-Rodriguez was called to the Walmart at 201 E. Bowman Rd. In Ridgecrest for a dog locked inside of a vehicle. When officer Villa-Rodriguez arrived she found a dog, later to be known as Pongo, locked inside of a camper shell attached to the truck with all windows closed and locked. The outside temperature at the time was 100 degrees.
A People + Animals = Companions Together(PACT) Volunteer arrived on scene and went into the Walmart to make an announcement over the intercom to inform the owner to meet with officer Villa-Rodriguez at her car. At that point officer Villa-Rodriguez requested assistance from the Ridgecrest Police Department.
When Officer Estrada with RPD arrived, Villa-Rodriguez and Estrada witnessed Pongo showing signs of distress, including panting and panicking.
The owner of the vehicle Sarah Dahlinghaus, 22, finally met with the officers at her truck and Pongo was removed. When Removed Pongo had an external temperature of 109.6 degrees, while the inside temperature of the camper shell had reached 124 degrees.
Dauhlinghaus’ placed Pongo in an enviornment which would likely cause great bodily injurt or death, according to police. Dahlinghaus was arrested and being charged with PC 597(A) and PC 597.7(A).
Pongo was taken to the Ridgcrest Animal Shelter for evaluation and treatment. As of today Pongo is rehydrated and is expected to make a full recovery, but will remain in the custody of ACO until the court proceedings are completed.
It’s important to remember when a vehicle is parked and off, the interior temperature of the vehicle rises quickly, according to police.