LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - In the past few weeks, the Livingston Police Department has investigated three separate incidents where owners left their dogs unattended in vehicles for long periods of time, despite the fact that the outside temperatures have been 91 degrees or higher.
Experts have said the temperature inside a hot car can climb 20 or 30 degrees higher that the outside temperature within a short amount of time.
Det. Leon Middlebrook said in a press release that people need to be aware the charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals is a Class A misdemeanor. The charge is punishable by a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
According to the press release, the first incident occurred on Aug. 30 at the Walmart Supercenter located at 1620 W. Church Street. When Livingston Police officers arrived on the scene, they found an unattended dog inside a vehicle in the parking lot. The dog was removed from the vehicle and placed in a cooler environment with air conditioning.
After further investigation, the officers learned that the dog had been in the vehicle for a long time. The owners - Frank Orosco, 51 and Lucille Orosco, 73, both of Livingston - were arrested on cruelty to non-livestock animal charges.
A similar situation occurred on Sept. 3 at Livingston's HEB, which is located at 1509 W. Church Street. After LPD officers arrived on the scene, they found an unattended dog in a vehicle. The dog was removed from the vehicle and placed in a cooler environment while officers tried to locate the owners.
The owners were arrested at the scene after they returned to their vehicle. Billy Parker, 50, and Delois Schumaker, both of New Caney, were charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals.
A third incident occurred at the Livingston Walmart on Sept. 9. Officers arrived on the scene and found two unattended dogs. Like in the previous cases, the dogs were removed from the vehicle and placed in a cooler environment.
The owner was identified as Vicki Stimac, 58, of Shepherd. Stimac was charged with cruelty to non-livestock.
All five of the dog owners have since been released from the Polk County Jail.