ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - A 21-year-old Rock Hill woman is facing charges after police say she left two puppies inside a hot vehicle while she ate inside a Rock Hill-area restaurant Friday afternoon.
According to a Rock Hill Police report, officers were called to the Olive Garden along John Ross Parkway Friday afternoon, just before 5 p.m.
When they arrived, they found two people sitting with puppies underneath a tree. The people said they had walked past a vehicle and heard the puppies, estimated around six to eight weeks old, making a "screaming sound" from under the passenger seat of the vehicle.
According to the report, the puppies were "crying loudly, sweating through their fur and [appeared] to be in great distress."
MOBILE USERS: Click here to see photos of the puppies
The people told officers they waited ten minutes by the vehicle and believed the puppies were near death, so they reached through a cracked window to unlock the vehicle and pull the puppies out.
Police say it was 95 degrees outside at the time, and well over 100 degrees inside the vehicle, saying there was "no shade whatsoever over the vehicle."
Officers found the woman who owned the vehicle inside the restaurant and identified her as 21-year-old Heather Sutton. Sutton told police she'd been inside the restaurant for about 30 minutes and left the puppies in a box on the passenger seat.
"This meant that both puppies climbed out of the box and crawled under the seat in an attempt to find shade," the officer wrote in the report.
Sutton was arrested under two counts of ill treatment of animals and taken to the Rock Hill jail.
Flo Vetro and her daughter were leaving the restaurant when they heard what she described as a "squawking sound."
"Once my daughter realized where it was coming from and then began to listen closely, she was sure that it was an animal in that car," said Florence Vetro, who is known to her friends as Flo.
Vetro said the vehicle's window was cracked just enough for her daughter to reach her arm inside and unlock the car.
"I was concerned that she would be cutting her arm up because of the glass or whatever but, she got in," Vetro said.
WBTV went to Sutton's house Monday for her side of the story. The 21-year-old did not want to talk on camera. She said that she tried to bring the animals inside to eat, but was told she could not have the puppies inside the restaurant.
Sutton said she went outside to put them in the car, and returned to order food at the table. According to Sutton, she planned to take the food to go.
She was arrested after police responded to the restaurant after a concerned call.
"But she stayed anyway," Vetro said. "Why wouldn't you go home at that point or take them?"
Vetro and her daughter were glad to hear the puppies are doing better after the weekend.
"Thank goodness. We we're at the right place at the right time," Vetro said.
York County Animal Control took possession of the puppies Monday.