PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Punta Gorda Police rescued a cat and a Dachshund dog from a locked vehicle in the Publix parking lot this afternoon.
Police responded to the supermarket, located at 2310 Tamiami Trail, in reference to animals in distress. The animals were observed in a locked black Mercedes Benz with the windows closed. At the time, the outside temperature was 89 degrees and the heat index was 97. After unsuccessfully searching for the vehicle owner, officers used a window hammer to gain entry and remove the animals.
The animals were then taken to a local veterinarian for evaluation. The feline was treated for heat exhaustion, but both are expected to make a full-recovery.
Punta Gorda Police want to remind citizens that leaving your pets in a vehicle can have tragic consequences. When exterior temperatures are around 90 degrees coupled with the Florida humidity, it can cause the interior of a vehicle to reach temperatures up to 160 degrees in just minutes. Animals become incapable of ridding themselves of excess heat. As a result, brain damage and even death can and does occur. The Punta Gorda Police Department said they take a very aggressive stance on the welfare of these defenseless creatures.
The vehicle’s owner, Nataliya Nekrasova, 48, was cited by Charlotte County Animal Control for two counts of Animal Cruelty.