Man Sentenced After He Left His Dog in Car Who Died From Heat Exhaustion in Jefferson County

A judge in Fort Collins sentenced a man to two months in prison. The verdict was delivered on Tuesday after the convicted man left his German Shepherd mix inside his car while he played 18 holes of golf.

The dog died in the car due to extreme temperatures. This sad incident happened on July 4th of last year.

Judge Jennifer Lynn Melton of the Jefferson County Court also imposed additional penalties on 31-year-old Michael Reynolds, including two years of probation, 100 hours of beneficial community service, monitored sobriety, a dog ownership class, court costs and fees, and a two-year ban from purchasing dogs.

All aspects of the punishment, however, will be suspended until the appeal is settled because Reynolds’s defense lawyer promptly filed an emergency request to appeal the ruling. To secure Reynold’s release from custody, Judge Melton ordered the payment of a $50,000 appellate bond.

According to a press release from the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Reynolds planned to keep “Keef” in the parked car with a bowl of water and the windows down after driving from his home to the Foothills Golf Course in Littleton.

People started noticing the distressed animal at about 11:45 a.m. One said they heard the dog “whimper.” After noticing that the car’s windows were not down, the person entered the clubhouse and dialed 9-1-1. A few minutes later, someone else observed that the dog’s hard panting was causing the windows to fog up.

Man Sentenced After He Left His Dog in Car Who Died From Heat Exhaustion in Jefferson County

That’s when someone else broke one of the panes with a golf club. Despite efforts by a bystander with CPR certification, “Keef” was not responding and eventually died.

The district attorney’s office decided to pursue a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty against Reynolds after a necropsy proved the dog died of heat exhaustion. Reynolds pleaded guilty to the charge, and during the sentencing hearing on Tuesday, an animal control officer informed the court that the temperature inside the car could have exceeded 130 degrees. The DA’s Office claims that Reynolds returned to his car at 1 p.m. and was “extremely distraught” upon learning of the dog’s passing.

The good samaritan who shattered the window did not face any charge. In Colorado, If a person breaks a window pane to rescue a child or pet in a hot car, they will not face any charges only if they have contacted the vehicle’s owner or 911 first.