GREAT BARRINGTON — The owner of two dogs that died of heatstroke is facing animal cruelty charges after she left them in a car on a hot day, possibly for as long as 11 hours, according to police.
Marla Monjardo, 49, of Great Barrington, will be arraigned in Southern Berkshire District Court on Aug. 9, since a judge was unavailable Monday morning.
Police were called July 13 by All Caring Animal Hospital on Stockbridge Road after Monjardo brought her unresponsive French bulldog there. The veterinarian who examined the dog told police that it had been dead four to six hours.
Hospital staff said Monjardo told them she had a second dog, a Conacorso mastiff, that also died, but she would not say where that dog was.
The veterinarian told police that Monjardo said the dogs had been in the car since 4 a.m. when she had arrived at her boyfriend's house and where she slept until waking up at 3 p.m.
She also said she had tried CPR on the bulldog for two hours, but when the veterinarian said the technique she used wouldn't have revived the dog, she said Monjardo told her: "I killed them. I killed both dogs. I forgot about them in the car."
At one point, Monjardo, the veterinarian told police, became belligerent and "hysterical," refusing to believe that the dog was dead, and suggested that the bulldog be given some Narcan she had in her possession.
The veterinarian said that Monjardo appeared intoxicated, had a nosebleed and "had no shoes on, smelled unwashed of several days and had scabs on her face and arms."
When police arrived soon after, they said Monjardo tried to escape questioning and fled in a truck driven by another woman, Kimberly King, who had driven her there. Police say King left the parking lot, then refused to stop for police, who had followed the truck in attempting a traffic stop. King later was arrested and charged with refusing to stop for police and multiple other driving offenses.
Police say they eventually learned that the mastiff had been buried at a property in Monterey.
The day the dogs perished, the temperature was 61 degrees at 8 a.m. and 87 degrees by 4 p.m., according to police.
Temperatures spike quickly in cars, even with windows open, according to experts. In 19 minutes, temperatures can rise by 20 degrees, and can rise 34 degrees in 35 minutes, according to research from San Francisco State University.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, for cars parked in direct sunlight on an 80- to 100-degree day, the temperature inside the car can quickly climb to 130 to 172 degrees.
Monjardo was charged with three counts of cruelty to an animal, the penalty for which is no more than seven years in state prison, or up to 2 1/2 years in jail, and a fine of no more than $5,000.
Heather Bellow can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.