Gale McMahon, assistant animal control officer for Klamath County, responded Monday afternoon to a restaurant on Highway 97 in Chiloquin after receiving an emergency call that three Rottweilers - a 5-year-old male, a 1-year-old male and a 1-year-old female - had died from the heat. She said someone tried to get them out of the vehicle and cool them, to no avail.
"This actually was a tragedy that did not need to happen," McMahon told the Mail Tribune newspaper.
McMahon cited the 65-year-old Eagle Point woman on three counts of first-degree animal abuse. The Klamath County District Attorney's Office said it's reviewing the case and won't release the woman's name unless she's officially charged.
McMahon said the woman went inside the restaurant at about 9:15 a.m. and claimed she had been making phone calls. Monday's high temperature was 81 degrees, but it was likely more than 100 degrees inside the car, McMahon said.
McMahon noted that a local dog died last year after being left inside a vehicle for just 90 minutes.
"They're like small children," McMahon said. "They have no capable way of taking care of themselves."
If charged and convicted, the woman could spend up to 90 days in jail and pay up to $18,750 in fines, McMahon said. She could also lose the right to own dogs for up to five years.