When an owner leaves a dog in a hot car while they run into a store or run an errand, most sensible people are upset and question the owner’s ability to make sound judgments.
But when someone locks a dog in a hot car on purpose as “punishment,” that’s a different level of cruelty that is difficult to compute.
And yet that’s exactly what one woman from Sandusky, Ohio, did on Saturday, resulting in the gruesome death of her dog that has police, neighbors and animal lovers irate.
Mouheb Ashakih, 58, had five dogs: two adults and three 6-month-old puppies. She said that her adult male, Chapo, had bitten one of the puppies, so she locked him in her car with the windows rolled up as punishment.
It was 81 degrees out and humid, and eventually, a neighbor noticed the distressed dog as he destroyed the inside of the car. Concerned, the unnamed neighbor approached Ashakih, but she told him off.
Seeing that she was being unreasonable, the neighbor called the police, alerting them to the poor dog struggling in the car.
“He stated he observed the dog tearing up the inside of the vehicle and it appeared he wanted out,” a police report obtained by WJW-TV stated. “He noticed all the windows were rolled up and he was concerned for the canine’s safety.
“He went over the residence and spoke to Mouheb through her side window. He told her to let the dog out, to which she replied, ‘I don’t care. I want him to die.'”
At 7:20 p.m., police arrived and spoke with Ashakih, and while they spoke she noticed that Chapo was no longer moving. She immediately changed her tune and pleaded for the officers to do something.
Body camera footage shows responding officers hopping her fence and rushing to the car.
“Is he passed out?” one said. “Better hope he isn’t dead in there.”
“Due to no movement observed in the vehicle officers immediately rushed up to it after climbing over the fence and the dog was observed to be either passed out or deceased at the rear passenger side floorboard,” the report continued.
“It should be noted, the temperature was still 81 degrees and the vehicle windows were indeed all closed and the doors were locked. Mouheb began screaming upon observing her canine and begged us to break her car window.”
The dog had indeed passed, and the inside of the car told how terribly he’d suffered before dying. According to the Sandusky Register, the dog’s body was hot, stiff and its paws were cut and covered in blood from tearing at the inside of the vehicle.
“The dog was fighting for his life inside this car,” Sandusky police chief Jared Oliver said. “The dog struggled inside the car but he was overcome by the heat. It’s just terrible.”
Ashakih was arrested, is being held at Eric County Jail without bond and has been slated for a mental health evaluation before her next court appearance.
This isn’t the first dog-related run-in with the law Ashakih has experienced. At the beginning of August, she was cited for failing to confine her two adult dogs, one of which was Chapo.
Barb Knapp, the Erie County Dog Warden, remembered the dog as being responsive and friendly.
“If you called him he would run right back to you,” Knapp said. “He did not deserve this to happen to him.”
The remaining dogs have been removed from the home and are looking for foster families.
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