SAGAMORE HILLS, Ohio- Sagamore Hills police say a puppy was left whimpering, caged and buried under several blankets inside a scorching hot car Wednesday when the temperature climbed past 90 degrees.
"Paws down, head down, literally gasping for breath," explained Patrolman Tim Ellis of the Sagamore Hills Police Department.
The biggest hero of the day was a rescue dog named Shadow, who just happened to be taking a walk with his owner when he sensed something was wrong; he began going wild while walking past the car parked on the road.
"She was just taking him for a walk and for some reason the dog started going crazy at the car," said Bryan Vince, whose wife heard the dog whining.
Body camera video shows police arriving in the pouring rain, struggling to gain access to the car with the owner nowhere in sight on the residential road.
"While we were looking at the car, I heard a whimpering coming from inside but I couldn't see anything except a dog cage covered in a blanket," said Patrolman Ellis.
According to a police report, Wednesday afternoon, while officers were on scene all they could see was a cage with no animal inside, then a pillow began moving. A portion of the cage fell on the pillow pushing it down, the puppy trapped underneath.
Police discovered the puppy under the pillow clinging to life, near motionless, struggling to breathe.
"When I got the dog, I ran right back to this cruiser; we had the AC blasting," said Officer Tony Pistone. "It was 90 plus degrees out, tried comforting it as best I could."
The dog's owner was visiting a friend inside a nearby home. The homeowners say the woman was visiting their grandchild from Columbus and they had no idea a dog was left in the car.
"In scenarios like this we only give the dog back if ordered to by a judge; otherwise, the humane society takes over and handles care of the animal," said Patrolman Ellis.
The police report states the 21-year-old woman told officers on scene, "she checked on it every 45 minutes or so," and "friends told her it would be alright as long as she was checking on it."
Cell phone video from officers shows the puppy taking her first sips of water at the Sagamore Hills Animal Hospital. At the time, a police report indicates her internal temperature was 103.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
The dog's owner was cited for animal cruelty and faces a judge for the first time next week.
"Had dogs all our lives. He's a rescue; they can't care for themselves so they need someone responsible to care for them," said Vince.