AUBURN — The owner of a dog found in a sweltering car Sunday afternoon had been jailed the night before on a shoplifting charge.

Police said Season Bartley, 37, of Poland, never told them about the small dog in her car when she was arrested along with her fiancé Saturday night at Walmart in Auburn.

A dog was found alone in a hot car Sunday in the Walmart parking lot in Auburn, where a woman called police after no one returned to the car for over 20 minutes. Photo courtesy of Christal Smith

“She actually was taken to jail by our canine officer,” Deputy Chief Jason Moen said Wednesday. “So she had a dog barking in her ear for the entire ride and still didn’t think to mention it.”

Bartley was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail when she was arrested, leaving the dog behind overnight in the Walmart parking lot. Police said when they were called to rescue the animal, the temperature inside the sedan was 103 degrees.

Police also said the car was unregistered.

The woman who spotted the dog during a trip to Walmart said the animal appeared nearly dead, the car windows open just a crack.

“I turned around almost immediately cause the feeling I got when I saw her was unbearable to ignore,” said Christal Smith, who called police. “I pulled right next to the car and sat there for a little to see if it was just someone running in quick to grab something that left their dog in the car.”

Smith said she even rolled up her own windows while waiting to see how quickly her car got hot.

“I was sweating with minutes of doing so,” she said.

After waiting 20 minutes for someone to come back to the car, she called police. An Auburn officer was there within minutes, she said.

“She was so dirty and looked malnourished,” Smith said. “She had knots all through her fur and almost what looked like a black, gummy material stuck in her knotted-up fur. She was so nervous and skittish, she jumped out and hid under my car.”

They were able to lure the dog out with treats Smith had in her car for her own dogs, but then the dog jumped back into Smith’s car and would not get out.

She said the officers asked her to follow them to the animal shelter.

The dog was taken to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston.

Bartley was released from jail earlier this week, but the dog remained at the shelter.

Bartley did not return requests for comment Wednesday. On her Facebook page, the dog is featured in several photos in which the animal appears clean, content and well cared for.

Police say it’s not uncommon for people to have dogs or other pets in their cars when they are arrested. Generally, the arresting officer will arrange for a friend or family member of the accused to pick up the animal, or it will be taken to the shelter.

According to Auburn police, a vehicle parked in the shade or with windows open does not provide adequate ventilation during extreme heat. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside an automobile can reach 105 degrees in just 10 minutes.

Anyone who sees a pet in a vehicle during extreme weather should contact the police or fire department.

Under Maine law, emergency workers can take reasonable steps to remove an animal from an automobile if the animal’s safety, health or well-being appears to be in danger.

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