The prison sentence given to a Tennessee woman for leaving a puppy to die in a hot car is unusually long, but animal advocates would be happy for it to become the norm. Alexis Cain was sentenced to two years for aggravated cruelty to animals over the July 29 incident in Memphis, reports FOX13. Cain and her companion, Charlie Parker, left Boss Lady, a 3-month-old Shorkie Tzu, in a vehicle outside a Memphis mall while they went shopping, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Witnesses who saw the suffering puppy rescued it from the car, but it died before they made it to a nearby animal shelter. Cain pleaded guilty last month, and charges against Parker were dropped after she took responsibility for the death, reports the Commercial Appeal.
It isn't clear just how long Cain and Parker left Boss Lady in the car, where the temperature reached 140 degrees despite a window being cracked open, but they didn't emerge from the mall until two hours after the dog was found, reports the Monitor, which notes that state and local government have been creating and enforcing stricter animal welfare laws over the last 20 years. A Humane Society spokeswoman tells FOX13 that the stiff sentence is a positive sign. "There are a lot of citizens out there [who] support tougher penalties and we want to see this stuff taken seriously, and in this case it was," she says. "We need to educate people that when it's above 70 degrees it is not safe to leave an animal or a person in the car." (A Florida landscaper who mowed down ducklings was sentenced to a year in prison.)