Man whose dog died in hot car gives 'thumbs up' in mug shot
GALVESTON, TX -- It's a bizarre mug shot, but the Houston man seen smiling is charged with a serious crime in the death of his dog.
His name is Bill Cody Omer and he can be seen smiling and giving the thumbs up in his booking photo. On Wednesday evening, police say he was crying when he found his dog dead in the backseat of his car. That changed by the time he arrived at the Galveston jail.
"It seemed like going to jail was somewhat of an adventure for him," said Lt. Joel Caldwell with the Galveston Police Department. "Now he's facing felony animal cruelty charges which is punishable by up to two years in state jail."
The dog, said to be less than two years old, was locked in Omer's car. That vehicle is now in a police impound lot, oddly enough, where a pit bull pup said to look remarkably like the one that died is used as a guard dog.
Police say Omer claimed he was visiting friends on Avenue S for at least an hour and a half. Temperatures outside were between 87 and 88 degrees outside around the time they found the dog around 6:30pm. Someone called police when he was seen crying outside his car.
"He told us he had been checking on the dog every 45 minutes. It's illegal to leave a dog in a vehicle at all, regardless of checking," said Lt. Caldwell.
Omer is said to be a college student. His parents live in Spring Valley, but no one answered the door when we called. A neighbor though was stunned by the charge filed against the couple's son.
"I just can't imagine because they're too good and too nice and I'm sure that would be very upsetting for everybody," said a neighbor.
Omer bonded out of jail on the felony animal cruelty charge, but the bond was set at $15,000 -- higher than the minimum -- to reflect what police say is Omer's financial background. And perhaps to send a message that leaving an animal in a car in the heat is a felony crime.
"It's taken seriously by police, by the DA's office, and we want people to be responsible pet owners," Lt. Caldwell said.
Investigators believe Omer, 23, may have been intoxicated at the time and may have been visiting bars in the area.
galveston, strange, deborah wrigley
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