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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- A Jeffersonville woman is in trouble with the law for allegedly leaving her dog alone in a hot car. She was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
The dog survived, but the owner was taken away in handcuffs, and authorities in Jeffersonville hope the case sends a clear message about responsible pet care.
Home video shows Chimi to be a playful, energetic Boston Terrier. It's a far cry from Thursday, when Chimi almost died.
"It was panting, throwing up, had some diarrhea going on, and just laying on the floor," said Charlie Heavrin, director of Jeffersonville's Ogle Animal Shelter.
According to police, the dog had been left in a car in a Kroger parking lot in sweltering heat, while the owner went inside to go shopping.
Someone saw the dog and called police, who brought in Animal Control. They were able to free Chimi through an unlocked rear hatch.
It was brought to the Ogle Animal Shelter where the staff saved its life.
"Giving it cool baths, wrapping up in wet towels, giving it some IV fluids and things like that," said Heavrin.
When the owner, 37-year-old Laura Esparza, finally came out of the store after 20 minutes, she was arrested. She faces a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to an animal.
"Animals in particular are not able to take up for themselves and protect themselves. And so whenever animal cruelty or neglect cases come across our desk, we do take those and take them seriously, just like we would an offense against a person," said Jeremy Mull, Clark Co.'s Chief Deputy Prosecutor.
No one answered when WDRB's Lawrence Smith knocked on the door of Esparza's Jeffersonville duplex.
Chimi has been placed in a temporary foster home. Authorities hope this case serves as a reminder.
"There's a lot of stores that are friendly now with pets. Make sure you can take your pet with you in a store. If you can't, don't take your pet anywhere," said Heavrin.
Esparza faces a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. But Sean Lumpkins, who adopted two dogs today, has his own idea about justice.
"That should be the punishment. That should be the penalty. Leave that person in a hot car all day long and see how they feel," he said.
If convicted, Esparza could lose permanent custody of the dog.
The foster family has changed Chimi's name. Because she was found in a hot car, her name is now "Sunny."