Columbia woman leaves puppy in hot car, charged with ill treatment of animals

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On Sunday, July 19, just after 1:30 p.m., the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Water-park in North Charleston for reports of a dog found locked in a hot car.

Yuridia Mejia-Yanez was arrested and charged with ill treatment of animals after she left her female Chihuahua mix puppy in her silver Toyota 4Runner with the windows partially rolled down about 3 to 4 inches. The puppy appeared to be in distress from the heat. A Good Samaritan was parked near Mejia-Yanez’s car and heard the puppy whining as she walked past the 4Runner. That person was able to reach over the top of the windows to get the puppy out. She gave the puppy cool water and poured water over the dog to help cool the dog off.

Mejia-Yanez was paged over the P.A. system at the water-park and after a short time, she walked out to her car to start it up. She told officers that her puppy was inside and that she wanted to check on it. When she realized the puppy was no longer in the vehicle, the officer told her that someone took the dog out of the car due to the hot and dangerous conditions.

Mejia-Yanez said that she came to the park around noon on Sunday and originally took the dog into the park with her but found out that dogs were not allowed, so she had family put the dog in the car and planned to check on it every 30 minutes or so. Officers arrested Mejia-Yanez for ill treatment of animals, and her brother, Marco Deominguez of Columbia, took custody of the puppy.

Just after 2:00 p.m., the temperature was 92 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees and 58% humidity.

Because of the quick actions of the Good Samaritan, the dog was in good condition after the incident.

Mejia-Yanez was booked and lodged at the Al Cannon Detention Center and she is pending a bond hearing.

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