Georgia woman charged with two counts of animal cruelty for leaving dogs in hot car

PHOTO: Police respond to a movie theater parking lot in Roswell, Georgia, where two dogs were rescued from a blazing hot vehicle. PlayThe Roswell Police Department
WATCH Officials warn about the dangers of hot cars

A Georgia dog owner found herself at the center of a criminal investigation this week after police rescued her dogs from a locked vehicle where the temperature registered at 167 degrees, police said Wednesday.

Police in Roswell, Georgia, broke into the vehicle to rescue the two dogs on Sunday afternoon after a stranger noticed them suffering in a movie theater parking lot, according to the Roswell Police Department, which released body cam footage of the rescue on Wednesday.

"You did the right thing in calling," a responding officer told the individual in the video. "We got here just in time to save these animals' lives."

The owner, who was inside the theater the time, was charged with two counts of animal cruelty. She was not taken into police custody at the time of the incident, but she could face a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail if convicted.

Emergency officials gave the dogs "urgent medical care" to cool off and hydrate the overheated animals, according to the police department, which said one of the dogs suffered a heat stroke seizure after the rescue.

It was about 90 degrees with 52 percent humidity in Roswell on Sunday afternoon, according to National Weather Service data, but police said it was a blazing 167 degrees inside of the vehicle.

"[One] dog was very aggressive from heat and fear,” Roswell Police Department wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. "A second dog had crawled under the front seat to escape the direct sunlight. She came out to protect the dog being removed with the animal catch pole.”

Police estimated that the dogs had been trapped in the car for more than an hour.

Body cam footage of the rescue shared by the Roswell Police Department captured the woman as she returned to her vehicle.

Lisa Holland, an officer with the Roswell Police Department, told ABC's Atlanta affiliate WSB on Wednesday that the car was parked under direct sunlight without shade.

"The windows were actually cracked, all of the windows were cracked, but that doesn't mean, you know, that the car is getting any sort of breeze,” Holland said. "It was parked directly in the sunshine. There was no shade for this car."

The dogs were seized as evidence by Fulton County Animal Control and are reportedly in good health, according to police. The owner is scheduled to appear in court next month.