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Judge in Manor allows owner to keep puppy found inside hot car

A hearing to determine if Manor Police get custody of Annabell, a puppy left in a hot car at Walmart last weekend, is happening on Thursday afternoon. (Photo courtesy: Manor Police Department)

An 8-month old puppy will return to its owner after he left the dog in a hot car for nearly 40 minutes.

A Manor judge ruled in favor of 20-year-old Chandler Allen Bullen, who is still charged with a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge.

In the courtroom, Bullen admitted that what he did was "not smart" and that a responsible dog owner would not have done what he did.

Bullen testified that he only planned to be inside the store for a few minutes and that he was buying the dog food and water.

Bullen was paged while in the store to come outside. Surveillance cameras show he was inside for 38 minutes.

"We are extremely disappointed with the ruling of the court today," said Manor Police Sgt. Craig Struble. "I don't think it's what is best for the dog."

Three officers testified about the dog's condition when inside the car. They claim Annabelle was panting, in distress, and seeking shade when officers used a tire iron to unlock the car and get the dog.

The judge said he was conflicted by a veterinarian's report read in court claiming the dog was in overall good health during its evaluation after the incident.

The judge also alleged that there are no signs of continued abuse and instead this may be a one-time incident.

Bullen also agreed to appear in court in 30 days with Annabelle and prove he took the dog to a veterinarian for care.

The judge ruled Bullen must pay shelter and court fees. The shelter fees must be paid prior to picking up Annabelle from the shelter.

Bullen didn't respond to a CBS Austin reporter's questions after the hearing.

If convicted of the animal cruelty charge, Bullen could face jail time.

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