Man Arrested and Charged with Felony Animal Cruelty After Leaving Puppy in Hot Vehicle

West Melbourne Police Arrest Gary Cooper

West Melbourne police arrested Gary Cooper, above, after officers responded to the Walmart on Minton Road in Palm Bay Road due to a two-month-old puppy that was left in a hot vehicle and was in distress.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – West Melbourne police arrested Gary Cooper after officers responded to the Walmart on Minton Road in Palm Bay Road due to a two-month-old puppy that was left in a hot vehicle and was in distress.

On Aug. 13, an officer arrived on the scene and discovered the puppy in the back seat weary and panting, with an outside temperature was 92 degrees.

“The windows of the vehicle were cracked open but not enough for this helpless puppy to maintain a safe temperature,” said West Melbourne Police Sergeant Graig Erenstoft.

“The officer was able to reach his hand through the window, unlock the door and remove the puppy who had been inside the vehicle for nearly 30 minutes. It would be another five minutes until the owner, Gary Cooper would walk out of the store where he was greeted by officers.”

Cooper was arrested and charged with Felony Animal Cruelty.

The puppy was turned over to Brevard County Animal Services and Cooper was later released from the Brevard County Jail on a $5,000 bond.

Dogs in hot cars can suffer from potentially fatal heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes. When you turn off your car, it takes only 10 minutes for the inside of your vehicle to rise by 20 degrees.

“Dogs die in hot cars as they can overheat very quickly and struggle to cool themselves down, even when a window has been left open or water has been left in the car,” said Sgt. Erenstoft.

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