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Zoo chief's animal troubles spill into parking lot

After two dogs were left in her SUV Thursday, Mary Louise Sheppa, Lex Salisbury’s wife, was fined $660.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR | Times

After two dogs were left in her SUV Thursday, Mary Louise Sheppa, Lex Salisbury’s wife, was fined $660.

TAMPA — Animal troubles continued to plague Lex Salisbury even as the embattled Lowry Park Zoo president resigned under pressure Thursday.

When Salisbury and his wife arrived in a gold Nissan Pathfinder for a meeting with the zoo's board of directors, they left a Welsh terrier and another terrier mix dog in their SUV before going inside. Reporters noticed the dogs, and Salisbury's wife, Mary Louise Sheppa, came out and moved the SUV to a new parking space.

Then a Hillsborough County Animal Control investigator showed up. Marti Ryan, Animal Services spokeswoman, said the window of the SUV was cracked for the dogs, but the temperature inside was 90 degrees.

Opening the window was not enough, Ryan said. "You're not wearing a fur coat. You try being kept in that car," Ryan said. "We're talking about the midday in Florida. Holy cow."

The investigator said the dogs were heavily panting but had not gone into distress.

Sheppa was charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. She was fined $270 for the cruelty citation and $390 because neither dog was vaccinated or wore a tag.

Zoo chief's animal troubles spill into parking lot 12/18/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 26, 2008 8:45pm]

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