Fort Collins man gets jail time for leaving dog to die in hot car while playing golf

By Brian Michel on January 9, 2024

According to CBS News, a 31-year-old Fort Collins man has been handed a two-month jail sentence after leaving his dog, a German Shepherd Mix named Keef, unattended in a sweltering vehicle for an extended period of time while he indulged in a game of golf. Tragically, the dog succumbed to heat exhaustion.

Additionally, the judge presiding over the Jefferson County Court imposed a two-year probationary term on Michael Reynolds and prohibited him from owning a dog during this period. Reynolds was also mandated to pay various fines and fees, attend a compulsory dog ownership class, and complete 100 hours of community service under supervision to ensure sobriety.

The judge stated, ‚Äúleaving a dog in a car for several hours while drinking beer and golfing is unacceptable and deserving of a jail sentence,” while describing Reynolds’ actions as reckless. KDVR news reported it was about 80 degrees on July 4th, 2023 , which  court documents showed Reynolds drove to Foothills Golf Course with Keef.

911 was alerted by witnesses who had noticed Keef inside Reynolds’s vehicle and were disturbed by the dog’s distress cries. One witness reported that Keef was audibly whimpering. Disturbingly, another passerby recounted seeing the window fog up due to Keef’s heavy panting.

A concerned bystander, worried about the suffering dog, utilized a golf club to shatter the car window and liberate Keef. Tragically, they discovered Keef unresponsive, and attempts to resuscitate him through CPR proved futile.

Upon his return, Reynolds claimed to have believed that he had opened the windows and left a bowl of water for Keef. Nevertheless, authorities arrested and charged him with a misdemeanor offense of animal cruelty, to which he pleaded guilty.

In Colorado, there exists a statute that shields individuals from legal repercussions, be it civil or criminal, if they choose to shatter the window of a hot vehicle in order to rescue a distressed child or pet. Consequently, the person who broke the glass on Reynolds’s car was not charged by the authorities.

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