Cary, North Carolina - A Cary man is facing charges after allegedly leaving his dog unattended in a hot car, resulting in the animal's death.

Incident Details

On July 25, 2023, at approximately 1:00 PM, Cary police responded to a call at a local shopping center regarding an unresponsive dog inside a parked vehicle. Upon arrival, officers observed the dog lying lifeless on the back seat of the car, which had its windows slightly open but no air conditioning running.

Investigation and Arrest

Officers traced the vehicle's registration to its owner, 35-year-old Matthew James. James was located shortly after and admitted to leaving his dog in the car while he went shopping inside the mall.

According to investigators, James had been gone for over an hour during an exceptionally hot day, with temperatures reaching nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The vehicle was parked in direct sunlight, further exacerbating the already sweltering conditions inside.

Expert Testimony

Animal welfare experts have emphasized the extreme danger of leaving pets unattended in hot vehicles, regardless of the duration. Even with windows slightly opened, the temperature inside a closed car can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke and eventual death.

A veterinarian who examined the dog's body confirmed that it had died as a result of heatstroke. The dog exhibited signs of severe dehydration, organ failure, and brain damage.

Charges and Legal Proceedings

James has been charged with felony animal cruelty for "willfully leaving an animal in a manner that endangers its health or safety." He faces significant fines and potential jail time if convicted.

Public Outcry and Community Response

The incident has sparked outrage and concern among the Cary community and beyond. Many residents have expressed shock and anger over the man's alleged actions. Local animal advocacy groups have condemned the behavior as cruel and unacceptable.

Animal welfare organizations have also used this as an opportunity to reiterate the importance of responsible pet ownership. They urge pet owners to never leave their animals unattended in vehicles, even for short periods of time, especially during hot weather.

Prevention and Awareness

To prevent future tragedies, Cary police and animal welfare groups are urging the public to:

  • Always keep pets inside air-conditioned homes or vehicles while unattended.
  • If you see an animal in distress inside a parked car, call 911 or your local animal control agency immediately.
  • Spread awareness about the dangers of leaving pets in hot vehicles by sharing information with friends, family, and neighbors.

Additional Considerations

  • The Cary Police Department commended the citizens who reported the incident and alerted authorities to the suffering dog.
  • James is scheduled to appear in court on August 15, 2023, for his arraignment.
  • The case is a reminder of the severe consequences individuals can face for neglecting the welfare of their animals.

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