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Woman accused of leaving dog in hot vehicle not once, but twice

By Elizabeth Bynum
Published On: Jul 04 2014 10:19:42 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 04 2014 05:34:06 PM CDT
GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

A woman is facing charges in connection with an animal cruelty investigation that spanned two counties in Eastern Carolina.

According to Greenville Police, a tan pit bull female dog was found inside a vehicle Wednesday afternoon on Heart Drive. Animal control officers said the dog was panting heavily and showing signs of heat distress. The temperature inside the vehicle was between 101.9 and 107.9 degrees, officers said.

While in the process of removing the dog from the vehicle, the owner, April Smith, was contacted; police learned Smith already had a warrant for her arrest for animal cruelty from Carteret County for leaving the same dog in the vehicle the previous week, a news release said.

Smith called the incidents misunderstandings and said she and her family love the dog named Star.

"We don't have our dog, our kids are totally upset and I don't even know what to do as far as trying to get my dog back," she said.

Smith said she cracked the windows just enough so that Star couldn't get out.

"If I roll it down too much, she's like wonder dog and she could slip right out of the windows because she's done it before," said Smith.

Sgt. Mike Broadwell from the Greenville Police Department says even cracking the windows wouldn't have been sufficient.

"A lot of people think if I just barely crack my windows that'll be enough air but it's just not enough air to get to the animals inside," said Sgt. Broadwell.

Smith was arrested on scene and charged with one count of animal cruelty for the incident in Greenville. Upon further investigation, Smith had additional warrants for her arrest on top of the animal cruelty charges, police said. Those include: assault inflicting serious injury, assault on a child under 12, and simple assault. No word on the details surrounding the child abuse incident.

Smith was booked into the Pitt County Detention Center under a $12,500,00 secured bond.

The dog was taken for a medical examination to East Carolina Veterinary Services. According to veterinarians, the dog was stressed and panting heavily. The dog was treated and released and is now in the custody of Greenville Animal Control.