Woman charged in death of dog left for 7 hours in hot car at Walmart

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. — An Alabama woman faces a felony animal cruelty charge after her dog died Wednesday, hours after it was locked inside a parked car amid brutal heat.

Stephanie Shae Thomas, 34, of Trussville, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals Friday. Police say she left her dog in a Mercedes for more than seven hours on Independence Day at a Trussville Walmart.

Multiple shoppers and bystanders tried to open the car, according to a video by Stacey Guthrie.

A bystander’s cellphone video captured the moment officers lifted the limp animal from the car. (Courtesy: WHNT)

Officers arrived at the scene after reports of a dog inside a car with the engine not on, according to Trussville Police Department.

Police were forced to break the window after an attempt to locate the driver failed. Cellphone video shows officers pulling the dog’s tan, limp body from the silver vehicle as shaken bystanders exclaim “Oh my God,” and “Come on, puppy.”

Police tried to resuscitate the animal at the scene, but weren’t successful.

Thomas eventually came out of the store around 12 p.m., according to Trussville police. She had parked the car at 4 a.m. and told officers she lost track of time.

Officers initially released Thomas, but, following an investigation, later arrested the 34-year-old on July 5.

Thomas is now being held in the Jefferson County Jail. Her bond is set at $25,000.

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