BOSTON (CBS) — Officials have criminal charged the pet owner who’s dog died after being locked in a pickup Tuesday with animal cruelty.

Alex Norregaard was working as a landscaper on Burroughs Street when he spotted the pit bull in the pickup truck and then called 911.

“He was panting pretty heavily, drooling, definitely struggling over the heat,” said Norregaard. “The driver’s side window was cracked open about a centimeter.”

Darleen Wood with the Animal Rescue League said it does not take long for a car’s temperature to become unbearable.

“Cars the minute you park them, they start to skyrocket 15-20 degrees,” she said.

Veterinarians believe the dog was in the car for well over an hour.

Norregaard tried pouring water through the cracked window until the Fire Department arrived and took over.

By the time the dog was rushed to Angell Animal Medical Center, doctors said he had already suffered from a heat stroke.

Angell Animal Medical Center. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

Animal Control and Care Director Amanda Kennedy said the dog’s temperature could have been “off the scale.”

“His temperature on arrival was 109.7, which is as high as the thermometer will go,” Kennedy said. “Unfortunately, by the time the dog arrived, within in a minute his heart stopped beating.”

Amanda Kennedy, Animal Control and Care Director. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

Doctors at the Angell Animal Medical Center did what they could, but were unable to save the dog’s life.

“It was disgusting, disgusting. People should be ashamed of themselves,” one dog owner said.

Jamaica Plain Physician Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell says she is sympathetic for the dog.

“I’m a physician also and I feel terrible when something like this happens,” Mitchell said. “I do feel like I could have done something if I had been around.”

Marc Arsenault, the owner of the landscaping company who found the dog, also said he was emotional when he heard the dog had died.

“Last night was a pretty tough night, just images in my mind of what the guys went through and clearly, obviously, what the dog went through,” Arsenault said.

Experts say it takes less than ten minutes inside a locked vehicle for those temperatures to be fatal. That’s why Animal Rescue League of Boston Lieutenant Alan Borgal says, “Don’t do it, don’t even do it. It’s actually a felony in Massachusetts.”

Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill last year that would protect animals in situations like Tuesday’s, and it will also protect those who rescue the pets from vehicles.


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