Woman Charged After Dog Found Dead In Hot Car Outside Highway 29 Business

August 24, 2019

A woman was charged with animal cruelty after being accused of leaving her dog inside in hot car for hours. The dog was found dead.

It happened in the parking of the Ensley Walmart on Pensacola Boulevard.

Crystal Marie Houk, age 36 of Milton, was charged with third degree felony animal cruelty. She told Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies that she left the air conditioner running in the vehicle, but a Walmart employee said it was blowing hot air when he opened the door.

Houk told deputies that she was not in the store for very long, but surveillance video actually shows it was about three hours, from 9 a.m. until noon, according to the Sheriff’s Office.


31 Responses to “Woman Charged After Dog Found Dead In Hot Car Outside Highway 29 Business”

  1. David Huie Green on August 27th, 2019 1:33 pm

    It doesn’t sound intentional. Therefore it doesn’t sound like cruelty.

    David for mercy

  2. Bill on August 27th, 2019 10:59 am

    Plea your case there is no excuse for what you did absolutely none!!!!!!

  3. Rasheed Jackson on August 27th, 2019 10:53 am

    316.1975 Unattended motor vehicle.—
    (1) A person driving or in charge of any motor vehicle may not permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, and removing the key. A vehicle may not be permitted to stand unattended upon any perceptible grade without stopping the engine and effectively setting the brake thereon and turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the street. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
    (2) This section does not apply to the operator of:
    (a) An authorized emergency vehicle while in the performance of official duties and the vehicle is equipped with an activated antitheft device that prohibits the vehicle from being driven;
    (b) A licensed delivery truck or other delivery vehicle while making deliveries;
    (c) A solid waste or recovered materials collection vehicle while collecting such items; or
    (d) A vehicle that is started by remote control while the ignition, transmission, and doors are locked.
    (3) This section does not apply to a fully autonomous vehicle operating with the automated driving system engaged.
    People who leave their cars running unattended are violating the law. Not to mention the safety factor of it possibly moving. This is putting everyone who passes by it in danger. Yes cars have been known to jump in gear on their own. Leaving a car running with a child or dog in it is recipe for disaster. Just leave the dog at home and if it is a child take them in with you.

  4. Irwin Commings on August 27th, 2019 9:35 am

    The ECSO will write you a ticket for leaving your dog’s in the car with the air on and the doors locked ,needed to help my mom check out

  5. Lol at stupid people on August 26th, 2019 11:59 pm

    If anyone is really in here saying they dont want dogs in public places because they could be bitten or get fleas, yall must be absolutely retarded. HUMANS walk around with WORSE than fleas. HUMANS walk around with worse than teeth to bite.

    I’d rather be in Walmart with 50 dogs that have the potential of biting me or getting bitten by a flea then walking around with 50 people who have the potential to give me some sickness or lice, and could be armed with a gun to shoot me. All the what ifs right?

    Get real.

  6. On my soapbox on August 26th, 2019 8:25 pm

    Ok maybe and that’s a big maybe that it is a service dog. What about the ones that aren’t and people get that tag just so they don’t have to leave Fluffy at home? What if that lady had left her dog at home? I am fine with everyone having ten dogs if they want and driving them to the mall, But I don’t want them infringing on my space. I don’t want to have to keep my children away from your pet that might bite them and I sure don’t want one to sit and scratch and do other things while I am eating in a restaurant. Keep them at home! Please!

  7. Just Saying (the original) on August 26th, 2019 3:09 pm

    Just because you don’t think that toy poodle is a “real” service animal doesn’t mean it isn’t. Almost any breed can be trained in these areas. My neighbor has a chihuahua that is trained to alert for an oncoming seizure, giving her time to minimize any damage she could cause to herself. My niece trains service dogs, and they come in many varieties and sizes for their duties. What you see is never the whole story.

  8. On my soapbox on August 26th, 2019 12:06 pm

    I would never hurt a animal. But I do not think that they should not be allowed in public places, such as stores and restaurants. I do not want dog hair in my food. I do not want to have to worry about a dog getting startled in a store and biting me or my children. Enjoy your pet. But the toy poodle with the service tag on isn’t fooling anyone. If you love your pet keep it at home or stay home with it. As far as the lady that left the dog in the car, why wasn’t he at home so he would be safe?

  9. just sayin on August 26th, 2019 9:17 am

    Leave the house dogs at the house where they belong and this wont happen. I for one am against any pet being brought into any business except the vet clinic. Just because you are married to your pet doesn’t mean everyone should be subject to being bitten by your dog in a grocery store, do it yourself store, or restaurant. Not to mention dropping off fleas that require the use of potentially dangerous pesticides having to be applied just because you cant leave Fee Fee at home. One day someone is going to get bitten in a store where a pet has no business being and the store is going to get sued. Maybe then pets will be outlawed in stores.
    The only exception would be true service animals.

  10. Christopher Dale Golson on August 26th, 2019 4:49 am

    I hope the courts make an example out of this individual. People that haven’t the the slightest of common sense, leaving their pets or children in a vehicle is an inexcusable act that shows a persons lack of character and compassion for anything but themselves. As for Lyn advising everyone “Accidents happen. Everyone said she left the car running with the ac on. Malfunctions happens with cars all the time. Don’t be so quick to judge till all the information is proven” Running into another vehicle with your vehicle, stumping your toe, and losing your car keys are examples of accidents and to call this an accident is most definitely an accident on your part. FACTS: Dog was left in the car and dog died. Judge away!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Bewildered on August 25th, 2019 1:03 pm

    I would be afraid to leave a dog unsupervised in a running car for three hours even in moderate temperatures. They can get into all kinds of trouble, climbing around and pushing buttons, setting it in gear, etc. Hope the lady does not have children – she is not using good judgment

  12. Beulah Girl on August 25th, 2019 11:11 am

    @ K

    I’ve tried taking my dog into that Wal-Mart they’ve told me no. I’m sure most dogs are alot cleaner than what they allow in there walking on 2 legs.

  13. Lyn on August 25th, 2019 10:03 am

    Accidents happen. Everyone said she left the car running with the ac on. Malfunctions happens with cars all the time. Don’t be so quick to judge till all the information is proven.

  14. Rational on August 25th, 2019 9:44 am

    Jail time for her, please.

  15. Melanie on August 25th, 2019 1:37 am

    I agree with @tooma

  16. chris on August 24th, 2019 10:09 pm

    there is one way to help slow this down is to become dog friendly like Academy but they would have to be on a leash and behave them selfes

    pet friendly is the way to keep our fury family safe

  17. A Alex on August 24th, 2019 9:34 pm

    Skeptic, not sure she left car running, just the AC blower running thinking it will keep cooling?

  18. Eric mccowan on August 24th, 2019 6:57 pm

    Skeptic: nobody is second guessing how long she was in Walmart. She was there for 3 hours, video proves it. She gets everything she deserves.

  19. Springer mom on August 24th, 2019 1:13 pm

    Leave her in a hot car for 3 hours!

  20. shay on August 24th, 2019 12:06 pm

    I have a house full of rescue senior dogs because of people like this. How horrible!!

  21. K. in Cantonment on August 24th, 2019 11:54 am

    Why didn’t she take the dog in with her everyone else does. I saw a lady with her dog in Winn Dixie and NO it was not a service dog. So there is no reason to leave your dog in the car or better yet LEAVE THEM AT HOME.

  22. Charlene R Ward on August 24th, 2019 11:43 am

    Hope she isn’t allowed anymore animals period and hope she gets a judge that doesn’t let her off easy as some used to do!

  23. Tonya on August 24th, 2019 10:50 am

    Should lock her in a hot car for 3 hours so she can feel the dogs pain. I believe in eye for eye for intentional crimes.

  24. Skeptic on August 24th, 2019 10:44 am

    If she has a decent lawyer she will probably get acquitted, since she did leave her car running and A/C on. With her car just idling, it probably ended up running hot or her A/C was low on freon… either way, the A/C would eventually start blowing hot air. While everyone can second guess how long she was in Walmart, it sounds like it was a tragic accident that occurred because her car malfunctioned. If she had just left it locked in the car with it shut off and the windows up, I would be out for blood with the rest of you.

  25. mat on August 24th, 2019 10:41 am

    Maybe she needs to spend 3 hours in an “air conditioned” car for her punishment.

  26. Sheri on August 24th, 2019 10:00 am

    I’m sorry but I’m here to defend Crystal no there is no excuse but she loved her dog very much. Sometimes we get distracted looking at stuff. She always left her car running for Gracie so nothing like this would happen. Her car over heated and the air shut off as humans we all make mistakes in life and this is 1 she will definitely learn from. Crystal I know your hurt and pain don’t let what people say or think about you affect you. And you know Gracie still got your back.

  27. Bill on August 24th, 2019 9:35 am

    Are you kidding me. Make a example of this person. I think she should be sentenced to 20 years of cleaning up and taking care of all kind of animals in the area . Animals are helpless and have feelings to

  28. anne 1of2 on August 24th, 2019 9:28 am

    Maybe she was enjoying the air conditioning at Walmart because she has none at home. Why can’t people just leave their animals at home?

  29. Miranda on August 24th, 2019 6:39 am

    I hope they throw the book at her!!! There is no excuse for this. Hopefully, Prosecutor Cierra Burns will be take on this case. She fights hard for animals.

  30. Gman on August 24th, 2019 5:56 am

    I don’t like spending 3 mins in Walmart let alone 3 hours.

  31. tooma on August 24th, 2019 4:52 am

    Besides an employee, who the hell spends 3 hours in a Walmart? There are some sorry people in this world – it gets worse everyday.

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