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Dog left outside in crate dies in heat

A man was arrested on an animal cruelty charge Saturday after he left his dog in a crate outside for more than three hours without water or shade, Pinellas sheriff's deputies reported.

The dog, a 2-year-old bullterrier named Forest, died. Officials with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Pinellas County found the dog had a body temperature of about 110 degrees; normal body temperature for a dog is 99.5 to 102.5 degrees, executive director Beth Lockwood said.

"That's totally unacceptable in this weather," she said.

The dog's owner, Brian T. Kelley, 28, was arrested on a felony animal cruelty charge.

He was released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $5,000 bail. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

Sheriff's officials said Kelley admitted to placing the dog in the crate as punishment because the dog had made a mess inside.

He put the dog outside about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, then left to run errands, sheriff's spokesman Mac McMullen said.

Some of Kelley's neighbors began calling Pinellas County Animal Services and the SPCA on Saturday afternoon after hearing the dog yapping from the crate. A deputy responded to the neighborhood about 1:30 p.m. and found the dog dead in the container.

The deputy noted in a report that the temperature at the time was in the 90s, while the heat index was about 100 degrees. Kelley arrived home about an hour later, deputies reported.

A second dog in the home, a pit bullterrier and Rottweiler mix, was taken into custody by the SPCA. It was in good condition Monday, Lockwood said.