A Sallisaw woman pleaded not guilty plea Sept. 9 to a charge that she left a dog inside her vehicle while she was inside the Cherokee Casino.
Carolyn F. Fowler faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the felony cruelty to animals charge. Her bond was set at $3,000 and her next court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 7.
At 5:45 p.m. Sept. 3, a Sallisaw police officer responded to the Cherokee Casino in Sallisaw in reference to a dog being left inside a vehicle. When the officer arrived, he saw a silver sport-utility vehicle with its doors open. Cherokee Casino staff members were standing around the vehicle, trying desperately to cool the dog off. As the animal lay on the ground, Fowler was kneeling beside it.
The officer noted that three of the vehicle’s windows, which were tinted, were rolled down only a few inches. The dog was in poor condition and panting heavily. He didn’t have the strength to even raise his head off the pavement, according to the police report.
The officer was told that a couple had arrived at the casino a while earlier and parked beside the silver SUV. Once they exited their vehicle, they heard a loud panting noise and they could see the dog in the SUV, panting and in distress.
The couple alerted the casino staff to the issue, and the casino manager said he began looking for the vehicle’s owner. Once she was found, Fowler went out to the car and opened the door. Johnson said that when the vehicle’s door was opened, the dog fell out of the car and was unable to move. Johnson said he then dragged the dog into some nearby shade to get him out of direct sunlight.
Casino staff provided a dish of water to the dog but it wouldn’t drink. The casino manager then began pouring water into the dog’s mouth and he was finally able to drink.
Fowler had reportedly been inside the casino since 1:30 p.m. that day and had not checked on the dog since then. While waiting for Animal Control to arrive, a quick temperature check showed that the interior of the car was 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
The dog was left inside the vehicle for about four hours without food, water or any cooling source. The animal was placed in the care of Animal Control and Fowler’s vehicle was towed at the request of the Cherokee Casino.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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