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Woman arrested for leaving dog in hot car in Forest Hill

A 45-year-old Harford County woman was arrested Friday inside a department store and charged with animal cruelty for leaving her dog outside in a car for 90 minutes amid blazing temperatures, police said.

The Harford County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to the Kohl's on Osborne Parkway in Forest Hill at about 4 p.m. and found an Australian cattle/beagle mix locked in a vehicle. The windows were cracked about 1 inch, and the dog was panting heavily and foaming from the mouth, police said.

Deputies used equipment to open the door and remove the dog, and tried to give it water but the dog was too dehydrated to drink, police said. The dog was transported to Hickory Emergency Veterinary for emergency care and seized by the Harford County Animal Control, police said. The owner can petition to reclaim the dog.

The sheriff's office said it was 92 degrees outside at the time, with a heat index of 108. They estimate it was over 100 degrees inside the car, and by reviewing store cameras determined it had been there for 90 minutes.

The dog's owner, identified as Daphne Lynn Luckhardt, was located inside the store and was arrested and charged with three counts of animal cruelty. She was released on her own recognizance by a District Court Commissioner.

"We understand people take their animals with them and may run errands or make stops, but the temperatures are simply non-compatible with allowing animals to stay in the car, particularly for that long," said Edward Hopkins, a spokesman for the Harford Sheriff's Office.

The charges bring a maximum penalty of 90 days or a fine not greater than $1,000, or both. The court can also prohibit the defendant from owning or possessing an animal.

Attempts to reach Luckhardt for comment were not successful.

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