Alabama woman charged in death of dog left in car for 7 hours while she shopped at Walmart

A stock image shows a person getting arrested | Photo by BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama woman charged with animal cruelty after her dog died while locked in a hot car Wednesday said she doesn’t recall the events that led to the animal’s death.

Stephanie Shae Thomas, 34, of Trussville, Alabama, told WVTM-TV in an interview Friday she is a longtime drug addict with bipolar disorder, and she recently ran out of her medication.

Stephanie Shae Thomas, 34, of Trussville, Ala., is shown at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in a bookings photograph taken July 5, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department via The Associated Press, St. George News

Thomas said she didn’t remember driving to the Walmart store where the animal, a 7-year-old rescue named Sky, died in the parking lot in an incident captured on video.

“Just thinking about what she went through the last moments she was alive,” Thomas said. “She had to be waiting for me to come out there and help her. And I didn’t.”

Authorities said the animal was in the car for as long as seven hours, when temperatures soared into the 90s.

Thomas was released on $25,000 bond early Friday after spending a few hours in custody, Jefferson County jail records showed.

Police had to break a window to get to the dog, which had been left in the car outside a Walmart in Trussville. Video shot by a bystander showed officers unsuccessfully trying to revive the animal.

Court records weren’t available to show whether Thomas had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf. But Thomas told the TV station she wished she could change things.

“Ultimately, I killed my dog,” Thomas said through tears. “I can’t change that. I want to, but I can’t.”

Lt. Phil Dillon told news outlets Thomas went to the Trussville Police Department the day after the dog died and told officers she left the dog in her vehicle while she went inside to shop.

Store workers paged the woman over a public address system several times but there was no response, he said.

Thomas told she doesn’t understand why she was in the store for hours and learned something was wrong after she checked out when a Walmart worker said, “The police are looking for you.”

Thomas said she was confused when she walked outside because it was hot and bright — she’d gone inside when it was dark and cooler.

“I didn’t see Sky and I asked the police where she was. They said, ‘Your dog is dead.’ I didn’t know what time it was because I hadn’t looked at my phone,” Thomas said.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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  • ladybugavenger July 8, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I was going to ask who shops at walmart for 7 hours? Then I saw her mugshot and then I saw the drug face. Hope she overcomes the drugs

  • 42214 July 8, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    I’m surprised she admitted to being a long time drug abuser. I would have never guessed looking at her mug shot.

  • Real Life July 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    She may have had better luck here in Utah. Certain people don’t get charged in these situations, in fact they get paid.

  • comments July 8, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    A 7 hour long, meth-fueled walmart shopping binge? LOL

    • Jaybird July 8, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      Sounds like a regular Tues for you

  • tcrider July 8, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    I wonder if Trussville Alabama is a good place to but trusses?

    • tcrider July 8, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      it was suppose to be buy trusses.

  • bsalmoo July 8, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    hope there are laws in alabama ensuring the rescuers do not have to pay the damage to her Mercedes.

  • PlanetU July 8, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Not sure how to comment on this. My first reaction was “put her in the hot car for 7 hours,” but she is beyond pathetic. That poor, suffering dog.

  • No Filter July 9, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Not to sound inhumane, but I think the dog may be better off now, then having to live with that piece of trash.

    • comments July 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      it actually is about the best thing that could’ve happened to this dog.

      • IPFreely July 9, 2018 at 5:38 pm

        Comments! Isn’t that your sister?

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