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updated: 7/11/2012 4:28 PM

South Elgin man charged with cruelty to dog found in hot car

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A South Elgin man has been charged with failure to provide adequate food, water and shelter for his dog, accused of leaving it for several hours in his car on a 98-degree day while he conducted business at the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles.

A passer-by called 911 July 5 when she saw a small dog in a car in the center's lot at 4:49 p.m. The lethargic Cairn terrier was lying on the center console armrest, drooling and foaming at the mouth, panting heavily, the caller and other witnesses told a sheriff's deputy.

The bystanders, fearing for the dog's life, entered the locked car, removed the dog to an air-conditioned vehicle and gave it water, according to the deputy's report.

The windows on the four-door Mercedes had been rolled down 2 to 3 inches. The sunroof, however, was left open, leaving the dog with little shelter from the sunlight, the deputy's report said.

Terry T. Rasmussen, 48, of the 1500 block of North La Fox Street, also was charged with illegally confining an animal in a motor vehicle without proper ventilation or other protection from heat or cold, endangering its life.

According to the report, Rasmussen said he had been at the judicial center since about 10 a.m. and left the dog with a bowl of water. He said he had checked on the dog several times while on lunch and cigarette breaks. Each time, the dog, Lulu, "looked fine -- hot -- but fine," he said.

He had brought the dog with him because he had no alternative, he told the deputy, and that he didn't think "it was all that hot today," according to the deputy's report.

The dog appeared to recover, according to the deputy's report. The deputy also reported that he asked for a Kane County Animal Control warden to come to the scene, but that the warden refused, and said the dog could not be impounded and must be returned to its owner, citing county health department policy.

However, the health department disputes that. The warden asked three times if she should come out to the scene, said health department spokesman Tom Schlueter, and was told "no."

"She would have been out there in a heartbeat," Schlueter said.

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