Police charge couple with animal cruelty

NAUGATUCK — Two borough residents have been charged with cruelty to animals after police say they left a German shepherd in a hot car for about a half-hour Monday.

Police responded to Mountview Plaza on Rubber Avenue at noon for a complaint of a dog in a parked motor vehicle that was “panting and appeared to be hot,” police said. When Officer Colin McAllister arrived, he saw that the dog was in a vehicle whose windows were about halfway down, police said. The owners were in Stop & Shop for between 25 and 30 minutes, police said.

“Officer McAllister noticed the inside of the car to be very hot and the dog appeared to be overheated,” said Lt. Bryan Cammarata, Naugatuck police spokesman.

He said the temperature at the time of the incident was in the mid-80s, though it was much hotter in the car. The dog had symptoms of heat exhaustion, he said. People on scene quickly got the dog water and the animal appeared OK, he said.

McAllister learned the car and dog belong to David and Lisa Stumpo, 50 and 48, respectively, of 33 Red Robin Road.

Because the dog did not suffer health issues, the Stumpos were allowed to take it home, Cammarata said.

Cammarata, who helps run the Naugatuck Police Department’s social media feeds, said he had posted that day on the department’s Facebook page about the dangers of leaving pets in parked cars in high temperatures. He pointed to a chart he posted on the page that states when it is 81 degrees outside, it is 138 degrees in a car with no flowing air or air conditioning.

“Even with the windows cracked, your car turns into an oven,” the chart states.

Cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor. The Stumpos were released on promises to appear at Waterbury Superior Court on Sept. 10.

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