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SCRAPS officer breaks into car to rescue overheated dog

An officer from the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service broke a wing window on a car parked at the Spokane Valley Mall this week to rescue a hound dog left inside by the owner who was inside an air conditioned movie theater at the time.

Justin D. Dalton was charged with unsafe confinement, a misdemeanor, and animal cruelty in the second degree, a gross misdemeanor.

Animal Protection Officer Francie Rapier was dispatched to the mall on Tuesday on a report of a dog left inside a vehicle in the sun. When she arrived, she found a basset hound panting inside with the windows left rolled down about an inch.

The officer used a high-tech thermometer to read the inside air temperature, which had reached 97 degrees. Spokane Valley firefighters arrived to help.

Unable to get into the vehicle, Rapier said she made the decision to break a wing window so she could open the door and free the dog, according to a news release. The temperature inside had reached 114 degrees.

The incident comes following an aggressive publicity effort by SCRAPS to warn pet owners not to leave animals trapped inside of parked vehicles this time of year.