Two people are facing charges after Transit Police say a French bulldog was found dead Sunday night inside a hot car on the third floor of an MBTA commuter rail parking garage in Salem.
Authorities responded around 6 p.m. for a report of a possible injured animal inside a parked vehicle and observed a “lifeless” dog in the front passenger seat.
“Inside appeared to be the lifeless body of a French bulldog,” Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said.
Police say the dog was found in “large amounts of vomit.” They say the dog’s owners arrived as crews tried to break into the vehicle.
Brendan Bulfin, 38, and Courtney Casey, 28, both of New York, let responders into the vehicle. It was then confirmed that the three-year-old dog, Nigil, was dead.
Bulfin and Casey are accused of leaving the dog in the car around 1 p.m. while they went to lunch and a carnival.
Nigil was left unattended in the enclosed vehicle in excess of five hours on a day in which temperatures hit 73 degrees, according to investigators. Police say that on a 75-degree day the temperature inside a closed vehicle can rise to 122 degrees in an hour.
Court documents show Casey told police that she left the dog in her Jeep because he had health issues. She also told police Nigel was an emotional support dog.
“I know on the surface this may appear to be irresponsible pet ownership, but it’s much more than that. It’s criminal,” Sullivan said. “It cost Nigel his life.”
A defense lawyer argued that it was a “tragic” accident. Bulfin and Casey were both arrested on animal cruelty charges. The were arraigned Monday and set free on $250 bail.
Animal cruelty in Massachusetts is punishable by up to five years in prison.
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