Dashcam footage shows Texas officers rescuing puppy from hot car

Puppy left in vehicle with windows closed, outside temperature at 99 degrees

By Adrian Garcia - Digital Journalist

MANOR, TX - After Texas officers freed an 8-week-old puppy from a hot car on Saturday, the Manor Police Department has released dashcam footage of the dramatic rescue.

MPD officers, along with a deputy from Travis County Sheriff’s Office, were responding to calls of a puppy not responding at a Walmart in Manor, Texas, just 15 miles northeast of Austin.

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When officers arrived around 4:08 p.m., they could see and hear the puppy panting, crying and attempting to hide under the rear passenger seat in an attempt to find shade, according to arrest affidavit.

With all four windows closed and partially opened sunroof, officials were able to slide a tire-iron through the sunroof and push the unlock button on one of the doors.

After opening the car, officers found the Mexican wolf-German shepherd mix puppy named Annabelle to be in poor condition with overheating symptoms, and she was “infested with fleas and had many lesions” on her, according to the report.

The puppy was given water and cool shelter, but soon after, the owner returned to his vehicle from the store around 4:22 p.m. and told officials he had been inside shopping for at least 30 minutes.

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When officials “asked him why he did not leave the vehicle running,” Chandler Bullen, 20, said, “I did not want to waste gas,” the report said. 

Officers arrested Bullen after he "knowingly and intentionally failed unreasonably to provide necessary shelter and water for an animal in custody."

Bullen could face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine after being charged with Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals, a Class A Misdemeanor. His bail was set at $4,000. 

According to the report and the National Weather service, the temperature at the time of the rescue was 99 degrees with a heat index of 109 degrees.

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With Tuesday, June 20, as the official first day of summer and high-heat temperatures as the norm, San Antonio Animal Care Services is asking local pet owners to think twice before taking their pets to run errands and to watering holes.

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Here are some tips and reminders:

  • Fresh water and shelter should always be available.
  • Pets most at risk from overheating include: young, elderly or overweight pets, those with a short muzzle or those with thick or dark colored coats. 
  • Mind your pets around water-most pets are not natural swimmers and any pet can easily tire and drown.
  • Shade offers little to no protection on a sunny day and cracking the window “a little bit” does very little to reduce the temperature inside a parked car. It takes only ten minutes for the interior of a car to reach 102 degrees on an average 85 degree day and in thirty minutes, that temperature can reach 120 degrees.
  • Symptoms of heat stress include excessive thirst, heavy panting, glazed eyes, vomiting, restlessness, lethargy, fever, dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, profuse drooling or salivating and unconsciousness.
  • If an animal does show signs of heat stress, gradually lower their body temperature and get them to a vet immediately.

ACS said if you do see a pet locked in a hot car, take action immediately. Write down the car’s description and locate a nearby store to alert a manager or owner. If you do not get a response, call Animal Care Services or the local police department.

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