The puppy was locked in the trunk for about 30 minutes and officers had to break the rear window of the car to rescue it.
PANAMA CITY — A puppy locked in a trunk and a shattered car window led to the arrest of a Mississippi couple at the Panama City Mall Sunday for felony animal cruelty.
Maurice Sanders, 30, and Keshanna Thompson, 30, both of Canton, have each been charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, according to their arrest affidavits and are awaiting their first appearance at the Bay County Courthouse.
Panama City Police received a call about a puppy locked in a trunk shortly after noon on Sunday. Kylee Underwood, who witnessed the incident and posted about it on social media, said she saw the man, later identified as Sanders, grab the puppy by the neck and throw it in the trunk of the car before he and his family walked into Dillard’s to shop.
According to the incident report, when officers arrived and located the car, they could “hear the puppy panting in the trunk.” While the afternoon was mostly overcast, the temperature about 80 degrees at the time and the high humidity pushed the heat index up to above 90 degrees. Unable to locate the owners immediately and knowing that the puppy had been in the trunk at least half an hour, officers broke the rear driver’s side window of the car and used the rear seat to access the trunk.
The trunk, the officers wrote, was full of luggage and “extremely hot.” They found the puppy, a brown mixed breed, inside a kennel that was “obviously too small” with no water. Once out of the trunk, the puppy was “obviously overheated” and was given water by the officers.
When confronted by officers about the puppy, Sanders allegedly smiled as he admitted that he put the puppy in the trunk, saying he didn’t want the dog to urinate or defecate inside the vehicle while they were shopping. Both Sanders and Thompson were then arrested and the puppy collected by Bay County Animal Control and taken to a veterinarian. Even after being removed from the trunk for some time, the veterinarian found the animal was still running a fever from the heat. The puppy was later medically cleared and taken to Animal Control.