Friday, August 19, 2022

Teen charged with animal cruelty after ‘distressed’ dog removed from car at Busch Gardens, police say

Busch Gardens France parking lot (WYDaily/Courtesy Google Maps)
Busch Gardens France parking lot (WYDaily/Courtesy Google Maps)

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly leaving a young dog locked in a car with all the windows closed at Busch Gardens.

A James City County Police officer at Busch Gardens was notified by a bystander around 4:45 p.m. Monday about a dog that was locked in a vehicle in the France parking lot, police spokeswoman Stephanie Williams said.

The officer responded to the car and saw a young pit bull in distress in the vehicle. The car was locked and all the windows were closed, Williams said.

As police worked to locate the owner of the car and dog, the officer used a door-opening tool to get the dog out of the vehicle.

When the 17-year-old owner arrived at the car, he confronted the officer, Williams said. The owner then tried to walk away, at which point the officer attempted to take him into custody.

The teenager then turned around to hit the officer and the two got into a scuffle as the officer tried again to take the teenager into custody, Williams said.

The teenager was taken into custody and sustained minor injuries from the altercation, police said. The officer also sustained minor injuries.

The teenager was taken to the Merrimac Detention Center and charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, animal cruelty and possession of marijuana.

The dog was picked up by animal control, Williams said.

“Monday afternoon, Busch Gardens was notified about a dog that was left in an unattended guest vehicle,” park spokeswoman Cindy Sarko said. “James City Country Police was notified and arrived on property immediately. The officers safely removed the dog from the car. Further questions regarding the situation should be directed to James City County Police.”

Update: This story has been updated with a statement from Busch Gardens. 

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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