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October 3, 2013

Man charged in dog’s heat stroke death

NEW CASTLE — The owner of a dog that died after allegedly being left in a truck this summer has been charged.

The border collie suffered heat stroke and died July 3 after its owner left it in his parked truck with two windows slightly cracked open in 87-degree weather, according to court records.

Authorities said Dennis J. Peterson, 60, of Cranberry Township, was in Jameson Hospital waiting while his wife was having surgery.

The Lawrence County District Attorney’s humane officer charged Peterson Tuesday with cruelty to animals. He was sent a summons to appear in court.

The witness who notified security told police she had seen the dog in the parked truck at 8:30 a.m. that day, and when she was leaving the hospital around 11:10, she could hear the dog breathing as though it had mucus in its throat.

A witness and hospital security called the New Castle police after discovering the animal. A responding officer reported the dog found was lying in the rear driver’s side seat and two of four windows on the passenger side of the car were lowered just enough for two of his fingers to fit through the opening.

The officer said he had observed large amounts of the dog’s saliva on those two windows. Peterson was called to his truck and unlocked the doors. The police officer said he opened the front door and rear half-door and could feel extreme heat inside.

Peterson told police he had checked on the dog about 90 minutes before that.

He tried unsuccessfully to awaken the dog, police reported, and it was taken to North Memorial Animal Hospital, where it was treated but later pronounced dead. A veterinarian there determined the dog’s internal temperature was too high for a rectal thermometer to detect and the dog had died of hyperthermia, according to reports.

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