ELYRIA, Ohio -- An Elyria woman facing an animal cruelty charge, accused of leaving a dog in a van in 91-degree weather while she ran into a store, hopes others learn from her mistake.
"My intention is never to harm an animal, and anybody that knows me personally, my long-time friends, is I will rescue an animal any way that I can, I'll help," said a tearful Darlene Jacovetti, 57.
"It was just a quick run-in to Walmart and it was at least 15 minutes. I looked at the clock," Jacovetti said.
On Monday afternoon she and a friend stopped by an Elyria Walmart to quickly pick up a few things for a Memorial Day celebration, with a black lab named Jake in the van.
Jacovetti said the dog has separation anxiety and they didn't want to leave him at home alone.
"I did make a bad judgement call," Jacovetti said.
So, they cracked three windows, left Jake in the van, and went inside.
After several minutes, witnesses called police saying the dog looked distressed.
Police said he had no water.
According to the police report, when Jacovetti and her friend came out of the Walmart an Elyria police officer was waiting for them at the van.
He cited her for misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
"What I agree with the police on this particular instance is that there were two individuals. One should have stayed in the car or they should have left the car running with air conditioning, especially if they were only running in for a few minutes," said Greg Willey, with the Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County.
Willey said if it is warm outside, leave your pet at home, not in the car.
"And the car is kind of like an oven; it doesn't take long for it to heat up," Willey said.
"In a way it's good this is coming to light because anyone that loves animals, they must not leave their pets in the car for even five minutes," Jacovetti said.
Jacovetti is due in court on June 5.