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Woman gets fine, community service for leaving pup in hot truck

March 01, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

A woman who left a 6-week-old beagle puppy in her locked pickup truck on a 95-degree day last summer was fined $700 Wednesday and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service at the Humane Society of Washington County.

Bonnie Sue Bingaman, 37, of Warfordsburg, Pa., was found guilty of endangering the health and safety of an animal by leaving it in a vehicle and fined $100 by Washington County District Judge Ralph France.

Additional charges of cruelty to animals earned Bingaman probation before judgment and a fine of $600 was imposed. She was ordered to reimburse the Humane Society $85 for fees incurred when the heat-stressed puppy was rushed to Cumberland Valley Animal Hospital on July 3.

"We could have had a dead dog," said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Duane Gigeous, who told France he opposed probation before judgment for all the charges.

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"It was fairly obvious that this was cruel," Gigeous said. "I remember ... it was the hottest weekend of the year."

Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Peacock rescued the puppy from Bingaman's truck in the parking lot of Valley Mall at 2 p.m. as he made a regular patrol through the lot.

"A citizen alerted me saying he had heard a dog crying," Peacock said in court Wednesday.

Finding Bingaman's truck in the lot in full sun, Peacock walked around the vehicle and found that it was locked but that both windows were down about an inch.

"I got into the bed of the truck, pulled open the sliding glass window and got the puppy out," Peacock said.

He described the animal as lifeless, eyes rolling back in his head, with mucous around its nose and mouth.

The deputy put the puppy in his air-conditioned cruiser and gave it water, but it then lost consciousness. Then the deputy took it to the veterinarian.

Another deputy was assigned to wait by the vehicle, and Bingaman returned an hour later, Peacock testified.

Keller Haden, who investigated the case for the Humane Society of Washington County, said in 95-degree heat, it would only take 10 minutes for a pet to die under those conditions.

Admitting she was wrong to leave the pup in the truck, Bingaman testified she had been out all day in the truck with her daughter and a friend when they stopped at the mall for a hair appointment.

"I was so soft-hearted. ... My daughter wanted the puppy to come along with us," Bingaman said.

The puppy recovered and was placed in another home.

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