Couple arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor animal cruelty after 2 dogs die from car heat

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station can be reached by calling 661-260-4000.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested a couple from Arizona after two dogs died from being locked in a hot car July 4 at Six Flags Magic Mountain, according to station officials. 

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station was notified around 3 p.m. of a parked vehicle that had “two dogs in distress” locked inside at the parking lot for the theme park on the 26100 block of Magic Mountain Parkway in Valencia, according to an email from Deputy Natalie Arriaga, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station. The dogs were later identified by law enforcement as Australian shepherds.

Temperatures reached into the 90s in Valencia on Sunday.  Sheriff’s Station officials did not release the time when deputies responded to the park; however, Sheriff’s Station arrest records indicate a man and woman were taken into custody at approximately 4:10 p.m. and later booked at the SCV Sheriff’s Station. 

“Deputies made entry into the vehicle in order to render aid to the dogs,” according to Arriaga. “Both dogs were transported to the Castaic Animal Care Center; however, (the dogs) did not survive. A male and female adult who were attending the park were arrested for cruelty to animals.” 

Britt Moyer, 21, and Brendan Alicea, 21, of Mesa, Arizona, were arrested on suspicion of violating section 597(b) of the California Penal Code, a misdemeanor, which states: “any person who, for amusement or gain, causes any bull, bear, or other animal, not including any dog, to fight with like kind of animal or creature, or causes any animal, including any dog, to fight with a different kind of animal or creature, or with any human being, or who, for amusement or gain, worries or injures any bull, bear, dog, or other animal, or causes any bull, bear, or other animal, not including any dog, to worry or injure each other, or any person who permits the same to be done on any premises under his or her charge or control, or any person who aids or abets the fighting or worrying of an animal or creature, is guilty of a misdemeanor.” 

Sheriff’s Department arrest records indicate the couple were released at 8:37 p.m. They’re due in court Wednesday, after being released on bail that was listed at $20,000.  

It’s unknown at this time how long the pair were in the park; however, a chart from the American Medical Veterinary Association shows how quickly temperatures rise to dangerous levels inside a vehicle: A car will go from 90 degrees inside to about 109 degrees inside after about 10 minutes in the sun. 

Assembly Bill 797 recently made it legal for someone who sees a dog in distress trapped in a vehicle to free the animal without fearing repercussion for property damage or trespassing. 

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