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It was a typical hot, humid Florida day in June when a family from Virginia decided to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park just outside of Orlando.
Rather than leave their dog, a small Maltese-mix named Money, with a boarding kennel or back in their hotel room, the family rolled down the windows of the Nissan Altima about 3-inches and took off for a day of fun at Disney.
ClickOrlando reported that from the time the car was parked at 12:37 p.m. that afternoon until it was seen driving away from Animal Kingdom more than eight hours later, neither deputies, Disney security personnel, nor an Orange County Animal Services officer witnessed the dog’s owner return to check on the animal, take it for a walk, or refill the food and water bowls that had slid under the passenger seat.
Disney security officers checked on the dog several times throughout the day, calling the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to the scene several times.
Finally, just before 5pm, about 4 hours after the car was parked, an officer determined that Money was in distress and removed him from the vehicle. Orange County Animal Services was called to the parking lot to impound the dog.
When the theme park closed at 7pm, the dog’s owner had still not returned to the car or checked on the dog. In fact, it wasn’t until around 8:45 that evening – 8 hours after leaving the dog alone in the car – that the owner returned, driving away before sheriff’s arrived to issue a citation.
Two days later the owner reclaimed her dog from Orange County Animal Services. She was issued a $265 citation for animal neglect and ordered her to appear for a responsible pet parenting class before leaving with her dog. The owner has neither paid the citation or taken the class.