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Woman arrested for leaving dog in hot camper shell

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Posted at 9:46 AM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 12:46:50-04

RIDGECREST, Calif. — A woman in Ridgecrest has been arrested for animal cruelty after she left her dog in the hot camper shell of her truck.

According to the Ridgecrest Police Department, around 2:50 p.m. on June 18, officers were dispatched to the Walmart, located at 201 E. Bowman Road, regarding a dog locked inside of a vehicle.

When the officer arrived, she found a dog, later identified as Pongo, locked inside a camper shell, which was attached to a truck. Ridgecrest PD says the camper shell windows were closed and locked. According to Ridgecrest PD, the temperature outside at the time was around 100 degrees.

Ridgecrest PD says a PACT for Animals Volunteer arrived and made an announcement inside of the Walmart for the owner of the truck to meet outside with officers.

Ridgecrest PD says officers observed Pongo to be suffering from distress, panting and panicking. The owner of the camper and Pongo, identified as 22-year-old Sarah Dahlinghaus, was located and met with officers.

Ridgecrest PD says Pongo was removed and found to have an external temperature of 109.6 degrees. The inside of the camper shell, where Pongo was, was found to be 124 degrees, according to Ridgecrest PD.

Ridgecrest PD says based on Dahlinghaus' actions, "she placed Pongo in an environment which would likely cause great bodily injury or death."

Dahlinghaus was arrested under California Penal Code 597(A) and 597.7(A), and Pongo was taken to the Ridgecrest Animal Shelter for evaluation.

As of June 20, Ridgecrest PD says Pongo has "cooled down, re-hydrated and [is] expected to make a full recovery." Pongo will remain in custody of Animal Control "until court proceedings are completed," according to Ridgecrest PD.