Dog dies after being left in owner’s car during hospital shift, Florida police say

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A 38-year-old man was charged with felony animal cruelty Monday when his dog died after being left in the car while he went to work, police say.

Police say Jeffrey Hazen, who is currently living out of his car, drove from Georgia to Clearwater Monday with both his cat and dog in the car to report to work at a local hospital. Hazen reportedly told police he left his car running with the car doors locked when he began his shift at 2:30 p.m.

“So when he gets to work, he decides it’s a good idea to leave his dog and his cat in the car while he goes to work,” Rob Shaw with the Clearwater Police Department said. “He told our officers that he left the car running and left the air conditioning on.”

When Hazen went to check on the animals around 7:30 p.m., police say he found the car was no longer running. The dog, a 2-year-old mixed breed named Biscuit, was dead inside the vehicle, according to the arrest report.

Police say Hazen went back to work and did not report Biscuit’s death to police or animal control. It was a hospital security worker that eventually called police.

Pinellas County Animal Control workers arrived at the scene and provided care for the cat, who was severely dehydrated.

“It’s never a good idea to leave your animal in a car,” Pinellas County Animal Services Director Doug Brightwell said. “Whether it’s for a minute, five minutes, five hours. Even in the wintertime…do not do it.”

Hazen was arrested and booked in the Pinellas County Jail.

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