Crime & Courts

Rock Hill woman left two puppies inside hot car while she ate at Olive Garden

One of two puppies found in a hot car outside Rock Hill’s Olive Garden.
One of two puppies found in a hot car outside Rock Hill’s Olive Garden.

Two strangers rescued puppies from a hot car over the weekend after hearing the dogs “screaming” in the Rock Hill Olive Garden parking lot, police say.

Witnesses called police Friday after discovering two 6- to 8-week-old puppies inside the car. They told officers they believed the puppies were “near death” so they reached through a cracked window and unlocked the door to get the puppies from the car, according to a Rock Hill police report.

Officers said the animals were “crying loudly,” sweating through their fur and appeared in “great distress,” the report states.

The temperature in Rock Hill at the time was 93 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Greenville. But because the vehicle was not parked in the shade the temperature inside the van was likely “well over 100 degrees,” police said.

Police found the owner of the vehicle, Heather Sutton, 21, who admitted she left the puppies in the car for about 30 minutes while she ate inside the restaurant. She told police she left both dogs in a box, but officers said the animals had crawled out of the box and under the seat in an attempt to find shade.

Sutton was charged with two counts of ill treatment of animals, according to the reports. She was taken to the Rock Hill jail.

York County Animal Control seized the puppies.

In this promotional video produced by California Assembly Republicans on May 16, 2016, lawmakers advocate for Assembly Bill 797, which would allow people to break dogs out of hot cars. From left, they are Assemblymembers Kristin Olsen of Riverbank