The Morgan County Sheriff’s Department arrested a couple from New York on Monday, July 20 after a customer at Food Lion reported their dog had been locked in a car in the hot sun for at least 30 minutes. The temperature on Monday reached the upper 90s.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Morgan County Magistrate Court, Sean T. McMahon, 31, and Savannah S. Vandexter, 23, of East Aurora, N.Y. were both charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count each of possession of a controlled substance. At press time, both were being held on a $6,000 cash/surety bond in the Eastern Regional Jail.
According to Sheriff K.C. Bohrer, 911 received a report of a dog left in a car that wasn’t running in the Food Lion parking lot.
When Bohrer arrived, McMahon was standing outside the vehicle but apparently had no keys to get into the vehicle.
Officers could see the dog was panting heavily and the vehicle was parked in the direct sunlight.
Vandexter then exited the grocery store and opened the vehicle. By that time, Morgan County Animal Control had arrived and they took possession of the dog.
Deputy Dennis Jenkins responded to the parking lot and Berkeley Springs Police Department Chief Tony Link and his K-9 officer also arrived, based on the officers’ belief that McMahon appeared to be under the influence. The K-9 alerted on the vehicle. A search yielded suboxone and drug paraphernalia on McMahon.
Police said the person who reported the dog in the car had watched the dog in the vehicle for 10 minutes before going into the Food Lion to look around. When the person left the store and saw the dog was still inside, she called 911. She estimated the dog had been locked in the vehicle for at least 30 minutes.