A woman was charged Sunday with ill treatment of animals after shoppers at a flea market said they saw her shut her dog in the trunk of her car.
Isla Corina Delcid-Almedare was released from jail on bond. A witness said he saw her walking her dog by her car at the Barnyard Flea Market on Highway 51 near the state line.
He said he stared at the dog, trying to guess its breed. When he saw it shut into the trunk, he went to find a sheriff's deputy.
Deputies said the-month-old Shih Tzu puppy was in the trunk for an hour, while Delcid-Almedare went shopping. They tried to find her and get her back to the car. One vendor said deputies called her name over the flea market's loud speaker system.
"It was an accident. She didn't mean to do it," Delcid-Almedare's brother Pablo Reyes told a local TV station, WSOC-TV. Reyes said his sister would not have intentionally hurt her dog.
"Maybe she thought she was coming back soon, and just forgot, you know," he said.
A vendor who worked at the flea market on Sunday said a crowd gathered around the car once they figured out what was happening.
He said when the dog was finally pulled from the trunk, it was wringing wet with sweat.
Members of an animal activists group, the Committee for Responsible Pet Ownership, reacted quickly to news of the alleged crime.
"Just when you think you can't hear anything else horrible, you hear something like this," said group member Linda Stewart.
Stewart said if the woman is guilty, a judge needs to punish her in a way that sends a message. She also said the woman could have done something to avoid the whole ordeal.
'It's simple. Leave your dog at home. If you love your dog that much, you leave them at home," she said.
The puppy is now being kept at a Charlotte animal control facility, where it will be housed until the case goes to court.
Officials said the dog appears fine. On Tuesday, the puppy acted in a friendly way, scampering around the room, obviously playful and energetic.
Delcid-Almedare is expected in court next month.