AUBURN — The owner of a dog found in a sweltering car Sunday afternoon had been jailed the night before on a shoplifting charge.

A dog was found alone in a hot car Sunday in the Walmart parking lot, where a woman called police after no one returned to the car for more than 20 minutes. (Photo courtesy of  Christal Smith)

Police said Season Bartley, 37, of Poland never told them about the small dog in her car when she was arrested along with her fiancé Saturday night at Walmart.

“She actually was taken to jail by our canine officer,” Deputy Chief Jason Moen said Wednesday. “So she had a dog barking in her ear for the entire ride and still didn’t think to mention it.”

Bartley was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail after being arrested, leaving the dog overnight at the Walmart parking lot. Police said when they were called to rescue the animal, the temperature inside the unregistered sedan was 103 degrees.

The woman who spotted the dog during a trip to Walmart said the animal appeared nearly dead, the car windows open just a crack.

“She was so dirty and looked malnourished,” said Christal Smith, who called police. “She had knots all through her fur and almost what looked like a black, gummy material stuck in her knotted-up fur. She was so nervous and skittish, she jumped out and hid under my car.”

The dog was taken to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston. Bartley picked up the dog after she was released on bail earlier in the week.

Bartley did not return requests for comment Wednesday. On Bartley’s Facebook page, the dog is featured in several photos in which the animal appears healthy, clean and content.

Police say it is not uncommon for people to have dogs or other pets in their cars when they are arrested. Generally, the arresting officer will arrange for a friend or family member of the accused to pick up the animal, or it will be taken to a shelter.

Smith, who hopes to run a rescue kennel someday, said she is always glad when she can help an animal in distress.

“I am happy to have been at the right place,” she said on Wednesday, “at the right time.”

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