Southington police have charged two people with animal cruelty after two separate incidents of dogs left in cars during the summer heat.
On June 29, Suzy Rivers, 37, of Cheshire called the police to report that her dog, a 1 1/2-year-old Boston Terrier, was inside her parked car at the Southington Library and not moving. After removing the dog from the car, police attempted to administer first aid but were unsuccessful.
Police said Rivers’ car was parked outside in the full sunlight with an outside temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Surveillance video from the library shows Rivers entering the building just before noon, police said. Around 3 pm Rivers had a conversation with a library employee before being seen on video outside the library with another library employee, police said. Witnesses inside the library saw a library employee inside Rivers’ car and became suspicious, police said.
Witnesses told police that Rivers’ rear window was reportedly open by about six inches while she was inside the library.
Southington Police Department animal control officers arrived and determined that the temperature inside the car was between 99 and 105 degrees. Officers also noted that Boston Terriers commonly experience breathing problems and are susceptible to excessive heat.
On July 23, an officer was sent to Shop Rite on Queen Street on a report of a dog left in a vehicle. The weather was 91 degrees outside, police said. The officers found a Chevrolet Trailblazer parked near the north entrance of Shop Rite directly in the sunlight. The vehicle was not running and windows were only open around 1 ½ inches.
An officer, noting that the dog was in distress, unlocked the vehicle. Shortly after opening the car, the officer talked with the dog owner, Salvatore Conaci, 65, of Southington who said he thought leaving the windows open with water in the car wouldn’t “be that bad.”
Conaci is believed to have left his dog unattended in the car for around 15 to 25 minutes, police said. Southington’s animal control officer estimated that the temperature inside the car reached 100-105 degrees.
This was the third incident in July involving Conaci, police said. On July 8, police received a call to Ocean State Job Lot and another on July 19 at Aldi’s reporting that a dog was left in a vehicle. In those earlier incidents, Conaci returned and moved the car before police arrived.
Conaci was issued a misdemeanor summons for animal cruelty. He was released on a $2,500.00 non-surety bond and scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court on Aug. 4.
Rivers turned herself in to police on Tuesday and was charged with cruelty to animals. She was released on a $15,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court on Aug. 3.