BROOKSVILE, Fla. - Two dogs are recovering after being rescued from a hot car. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office says their owner left them in his truck with the windows rolled up.
"That really makes my heart sad and it really makes me sad that someone was careless like that," nearby shop owner Patricia Lambright said.
The large fawn Mastiff and small black Chihuahua were found inside a white truck in a parking lot near the corner of Main Street and Broad Street in Brooksville, Florida, by a sheriff's office employee late Thursday morning. The employee called the sheriff's office and the dogs were rescued from the truck by an animal enforcement officer.
"They were drooling and showing obvious signs of distress; drooling, panting. I don't believe they were there for a very long time before our employee saw that, but luckily she got there when she did," Hernando County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Denise Moloney said.
The temperature inside the truck was 110 degrees.
"The owner told them that he was only away from the vehicle for a few minutes, but we were there for longer than he said he was away from the vehicle, so we know that wasn't a factual statement," Moloney said.
The dogs were taken to Hernando County Animals Services for evaluation and later released back to the owner after he was written a citation and forced to pay more than $600 in fees and citations.
According to Florida law, it's legal to break into a locked vehicle to rescue children or pets in danger of overheating, but you must call 911 before or immediately after breaking in.
"It's best to just leave the dogs at home or bring someone along if you have to bring the dogs so you can leave the car running with another person in it so the dogs stay cool," Moloney said.