An American Idol audition that killed a dog

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The American Idol auditions that turned Invesco Field at Mile High into an ear-damage danger zone for three days earlier this week racked up at least one casualty. Quincy Vanderbilt, a 24-year-old North Dakotan was charged with animal cruelty and given an August 20 court date for allowing his terrier to die in his car (which had all of its windows rolled up) while his girlfriend tried out for the talent show. No word about whether she made the cut, but if she did, I suspect even the judges will vote to give her the heave-ho as soon as they hear the news. Even Simon Cowell isn't that mean.

Below, read the official release on the incident, issued jointly by the Denver Police Department and the Denver District Attorneys Office.

A 24-year-old man from North Dakota has been charged with one count of animal cruelty after a dog he left in a vehicle died....

Quincy Vanderbilt (dob: 05-23-85) was served a criminal summons and complaint today charging him with cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor.

The charge alleges that Vanderbilt, who was visiting Denver from North Dakota, left the dog in a car parked near Invesco Field. When he checked on the dog later in the afternoon it was dead. Vanderbilt is due in court August 20, 2009 for his first court appearance.

This case serves as a reminder of the dangers of summer heat. Denver Animal Care and Control advises that it takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don't realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees -- and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun!

Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days. So many experts recommend not to leave pets or children in parked cars even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher.

Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

Leave your dog at home on warm days. What should you do if you see a pet in distress? Call 311 and report it to Animal Care & Control or call your local police.

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