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Heat + Dog in Car = Charges in Norwalk

NORWALK, Conn. - Two Norwalk dogs escaped serious injury in separate incidents Thursday after passers-by found them locked in parked cars and called Norwalk Police . Their owners, Jodi Castellanos, 35, of Bridgeport, and Peter Willcox, 58, of 38 Dock Road, were given summons for cruelty to animals.

Dogs are more susceptible than humans to heat stroke, says the website DogTopics.com. An article titled "How to Kill Your Dog in 30 Minutes" says a dog only has sweat glands on its paws and nose.

Police say Castellanos left her dog, Zoe, a small, 5-month old mixed breed, alone in her Chevy while she shopped at 500 Connecticut Ave. The car's windows were down 4-inches, but Zoe was panting heavily when Officer Daniel Fitzmaurice arrived at about 3:30 p.m.

Fearing that Zoe would have heat stroke, Fitzmaurice used a tool to unlock the car. The outside temperature was 96 degrees. Castellanos came out and short while later and said she had only been gone 25 minutes and didn't think it would be a problem because her windows were lowered, police said. Officers suggested that she leave her dog home next time.

Police say Willcox left his dog, Deacon, an adult German shepard, locked in his green Toyota Camry at 761 Main Ave. with the windows down 3 inches. Witnesses said Deacon had been there for an hour when Animal Control Officer Robert Sirico arrived at about 4:30 p.m.

Deacon was panting heavily, police say. Sirico's thermometer found the temperature in the car was 106 degrees. Deacon was taken out of the car and put in the air-conditioned comfort of the city's new Disaster Animal Response Team vehicle and given water.

Willcox came back 10 minutes later and said he had only been gone 15 minutes.

Police say neither dog suffered long-term injury.

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