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UPDATE: Sevierville woman says she didn't mean to put dog in danger

June 3rd, 2014 4:05 pm by Becky Campbell

UPDATE: Sevierville woman says she didn't mean to put dog in danger

Buster Brown in the car at Walmart (Contributed/WC-JC Animal Shelter)

A Sevierville woman said Tuesday she never meant to put her dog, Buster Brown, in harm’s way when she left the young Red Nose Pit Bull/Boxer mix inside her car last month while shopping in Johnson City.

Shannon Gibson, 32, appeared in Washington County Sessions Court on one count of animal cruelty for leaving the dog in an overheated vehicle. It was her first court appearance on the charge.

Judge James Nidiffer appointed the public defender’s office to represent Gibson and reset the case for July 8.

The charge was filed after Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas received the call May 8 about a dog locked inside a vehicle parked at Walmart on Browns Mill Road around 11:45 a.m. It was 90.3 degrees outside the car when he arrived.

Thomas said the dog was already panting heavily, even with the windows down several inches. By the time Gibson got back to her car, the inside temperature was 131.5 degrees, according to Thomas.

Gibson said she left her car windows down about halfway to provide ventilation for Buster Brown and also left a Styrofoam cup with ice water so he could get a drink.

By the time Thomas arrived, the ice had melted, but Gibson said the water was still cold.

Gibson said she did what she thought was the right thing for her dog. Now, she said she realizes the best thing for her four-legged friend is to leave him at home if there’s a chance she will go somewhere he can’t.

“I didn’t realize you shouldn’t leave you dog in the car. I didn’t know the temperature got so much hotter in the car,” Gibson said.

“When it’s super hot outside don’t take your dog with you, no matter what. I love my dog very much. If I knew I was roasting my dog I would never have taken him with me,” she said.

Gibson said she spreads the word now any time she sees a dog inside a parked car, but added it’s a common practice in Pigeon Forge.

“People do it all the time,” she said.

Thomas asked the Walmart manager to page the owner of the vehicle and in the meantime contacted Johnson City police to assist with entering the car by force. All the while, Buster Brown panted heavily in an attempt to cool himself, Thomas said.

But panting in a hot car only causes a dog to heat up more because it not only expels hot air, but also breathes it back in, Thomas said.

“All they’re doing is sucking in hot air and it’s the microwave effect. It’s cooking the dog form the inside out,” Thomas said.

Gibson said she was frantic when she arrived at her car and saw animal control and police and realized why they were there. Thomas did not take control of Buster Brown, but instead allowed Gibson to keep him while the court case is pending.

She willingly spoke to reporters Tuesday even though her case is still pending. Thomas said if Gibson is convicted of animal cruelty, he will ask that part of her punishment include doing public service announcements about the issue.

Follow Becky Campbell on Twitter @CampbellinCourt. Like her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BeckyCampbellJCPress.

REPORTED EARLIER:

A Sevierville woman said Tuesday she never meant to put her dog, Buster Brown, in harm’s way when she left the young Red Nose Pit Bull/Boxer mix inside her car last month outside a Johnson City Walmart.

Shannon Gibson, 32, appeared in Washington County General Sessions Court on one count of animal cruelty for leaving the dog to an overheated vehicle. It was her first court appearance on the charge.

Judge James Nidiffer appointed the public defender’s office to represent Gibson and reset the case for July 8.

The charge was filed after Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas received the call May 8 about a dog locked inside a vehicle parked at Walmart on Browns Mill Road around 11:45 a.m. It was 90.3 degrees outside the car when he arrived.

Thomas said the dog was already panting heavily, even with the windows down several inches. Gibson said she left her car windows down about halfway to provide ventilation for Buster Brown and also left a Styrofoam cup with ice water so he could get a drink.

By the time Thomas arrived, the ice had melted, but Gibson said the water was still cold.

Gibson said she did what she thought was the right thing for her dog. Now, she said she realizes the best thing for her four-legged friend is to leave him at home if there’s a chance she will go somewhere he can’t.

Read Wednesday's print edition and keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for more on the case.

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