Martinsville residents charged after pit bull dies in the heat

Residents charged with felony animal cruelty

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Two Martinsville residents have been charged with felony animal cruelty for the death of a pit bull, believed to be less than 2 years old.

The dog was found dead Monday tethered to the railing on the front porch of the residents' Martinsville home.

"We think the dog was just left out in the heat too long without water or shelter," Martinsville animal control officer E.C. Stone said.

Stone said there was another dog at the home that appeared to be suffering from the heat as well.

"After having some water, it was OK," Stone said.

Stone has been to the home before, but never because an animal died.

He said if you see a pet you think is in need of water or shelter, immediately call 911.

Don't try to rescue it yourself.

The pit bull was found Monday because a concerned resident called 911.

"It's better for them, maybe, to stay and give us a little bit of guidance on exactly where the dog is when we get there. But it's better for a pedestrian or a citizen not to trespass on somebody else's property," Stone explained.

The same goes if you see a pet left alone in a car.

Call 911 first rather than immediately breaking into the car to get the animal out.

Early Tuesday morning, a pit bull suffering from being overheated was brought in to the Danville Area Humane Society and died.

Danville Area Humane Society executive director Paulette Dean said heat-related animal deaths, regardless of the circumstances, are frustrating.

"I hate summer. When it starts getting warm I know we are going to have these issues. I feel so sorry for the animals, and I will tell you, it completely takes away any joy that you could have about even drinking cold water or being in an air-conditioned room," Dean said.

"It gives me no pleasure knowing that there are animals out there suffering."

The pit bull that was brought in to the humane society had a fever of 107 degrees and was having seizures from being overheated.

As of Wednesday, the investigation into the dog's death was ongoing.

The owner had been charged with violating the city's tethering ordinance, a misdemeanor, but more charges were possible.

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