Dog rescued from car almost 2 days after owners arrested

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Dog rescued from locked SUV
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Sunny when he was still locked in the car.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A dog trapped inside an SUV all day Sunday and much of Monday is now safe and sound thanks to his very determined neighbors.

"I was walking my dog last evening about 7:45 and I noticed the little dog, his name is Sunny," said Janice Seitzinger who lives at the Cedar Hill Condominiums on Flint Ridge Place in Raleigh.

That was 7:45 p.m. Sunday night when she noticed Sunny sitting in his owners' SUV. Then after talking to neighbors they realized Sunny had been in that SUV longer than anyone thought.

Raleigh police confirm they responded to a domestic dispute at the condos in the early morning hours of Sunday.

Because both people in the home showed signs of injury, they were both arrested. Twenty-five-year-old Emmanuel Valladares was charged with assault on a female and 26-year-old Laura Julieth Araque with simple assault.

Emmanuel Valladares and Laura Julieth Araque.
images courtesy Raleigh-Wake City-County Bureau of Identification

A police spokesperson said the responding officers did not know the dog was locked inside the SUV outside of the home when they cleared the scene.

And so Sunny sat, waiting.

"He didn't have any water, he didn't have food, the windows were not even cracked," said Seitzinger.

"He was just looking at me like he was dehydrated," said Lamont Williams, who also lives in the area.

The crowd of neighbors forming around Sunny in the SUV called for help. Raleigh police say they were alerted about the dog 9 a.m. Monday but because the dog didn't appear in distress they couldn't break a window to get in.

Neighbors say animal control officers then came and left a warning note on the vehicle at 10:30 a.m. and left.

They say they kept calling and animal control came back with police officers and firefighters. Four hours later when Kathy Garcia came home from work at 2:30 p.m. she saw police officers and firefighters still trying to save Sunny.

Firefighters try to get the car open.

"They said they legally couldn't do anything, break into the car because it was cool out," said Garcia.

Police even enlisted the help of a mechanic to try to get in the SUV.

"There was firemen and policemen all over that BMW. Apparently BMW is very hard to break into because they couldn't get in, it was hours and hours and hours," said Seitzinger.

Finally someone suggested that maybe the car keys were still with the owners at the jail. Police looked into it and they were.

In the end, police got the keys from the owner in jail and the dog was taken to a shelter by animal control. Police say the dog going is to be okay. If not for the work of Sunny's determined neighbors, Sunny might have had a different ending to this story.

"There's a lot of really good hearted people that pulled together in the neighborhood," said Seitzinger.

At last check Sunny was still at a shelter, but neighbors say they hope he can be reunited with his family soon.

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