Dog Left in Hot Car Returned to Owner - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/14/04

Dog Left in Hot Car Returned to Owner

Baby Dill Pickle Baby Dill Pickle

Remember the name Baby Dill Pickle? He was a little basset hound puppy rescued from a hot car. Authorities charged the owner with animal abuse. And now, there's a surprising twist to this case. Last week, Baby Dill Pickle's owner pled guilty to the charges. The judge gave a suspended sentence, and the dog back to the owner.

Two months ago, he was near death, locked in a parked car for almost 20 minutes in scorching heat with the windows barely cracked.

"I was livid," said Savannah-Chatham police corporal Randall Howell, who saved Baby Dill Pickle from the car. While vets treated the basset hound, his owner, Jeff Follett of Wilmington Island, faced animal abuse charges. Last week, Follett pled guilty, but the court gave custody back to him.

Cpl. Howell had no idea until WTOC told him the news. "I should have been there to testify with the information my investigation revealed," he told us.

No one was home when we tried to reach Follett. Baby Dill Pickle's owners didn't return our calls either.

But a judge did give the dog back to his owners. Some might disagree. The people who saved Baby Dill Pickle aren't so forgiving. "I couldn't believe it," said humane society director Robert Lee.

Lee has seen dozens of animal abuse cases. He says Baby Dill Pickle's was one of the worst. "We have taken cases where the animal was not even nearly in the same amount of peril, and there was no question about the dog going back," he told us.

Cpl. Howell isn't impressed with Baby Dill's owners, or the judge's decision. "That's a decision the judge has made, and I'm going to have to live with it," he said.

Jeff Fallott faces no fines, no community service. All he has to do is pay the vet bills, schedule a vet visit every three months, and be ready for random inspections from Animal Control.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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