BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Deputies with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office say it was 90 degrees outside the Merritt Island Walmart last week, when an 8-week-old puppy was left behind in a hot car by her owner. Witnesses say only the back window was cracked open.
"I put my hand through to feel how hot it was it started licking me with a dry tongue," explained Becki Butler, a mother of two from Cocoa Beach who heard the puppy crying.
Another customer at the store, Stephen Guidry, helped free the dog. Both Butler and Guidry were shocked when the dog's owner came out and drove away, ignoring their pleas to stop.
"You have someone who is irresponsible enough to leave a pet in there is certainly not responsible enough to own up to what they did," Butler said.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey says Animal Control took custody of the rescued animal that day and began a criminal investigation. The out-of-state owner has not yet been located, so Butler entered her name into the shelter's lottery system to adopt the dog.
"I did have about eight people that were going to sign up on the lottery on my behalf, in case we didn't get it," she said
But that wasn't necessary, because when Sheriff Ivey found out the Good Samaritan wanted the puppy, he personally thanked her for doing the right thing. Then he awarded her the right to adopt the puppy she had helped to rescue.
"When I got the call about it, it was pretty simple for me. This dog is lucky to be alive based on the circumstances!"
Butler's two kids, Hannah and Mikey, named their new dog Xena.