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Floyd County man facing animal cruelty charges following shoplifting incident

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - On July 14th, the Pikeville Police Department responded to a call from a nearby grocery store about a shoplifter and by the end of the day, saved the life of an animal trapped in a hot car.

According to statements and citations from Pikeville PD, 41-year old Christopher Hamilton of Teaberry attempted to steal more than $1,300 worth of merchandise from Food City on Cassidy Boulevard and also attempted to flee, evade, and resist arrest. When asked how he arrived at the grocery store, he explained to officers he had been dropped off by his girlfriend who Hamilton said must have left before police arrived. Hamilton also had previous warrants from Coal Run PD and Prestonsburg PD in Floyd County as well as multiple failures to appear in court.

“Once they left the scene he never told them that he had driven in there,” said Pikeville PD’s Public Information Officer Tony Conn. “[Hamilton] never told them there was anything going on with the vehicle or anything like that.”

More than one hour after the initial arrest, Pikeville Dispatch received a second call from the managers of Food City stating that they had located Hamilton’s car with a large dog trapped inside.

“Food City management reviewed security footage and actually saw him pull in because they were wanting to tow the car for him shoplifting in their store,” said the arresting officer Brandon Martin. “When they called, they said they had located the car and that there was a dog inside with the windows up and the car was not running.”

After arriving on the scene and assessing the situation, Officer Martin gained access to Hamilton’s car and attempted to rescue the dog.

“The dog was visibly in a lot of distress,” said Officer Martin. “It was panting, its tongue was hanging out, it was so weak it could hardly walk across to me to get out of the car.”

While getting the dog out of the car, Hamilton’s girlfriend approached the officer. When asked about the incident, she said she had been dropped off at the nearby Walmart, but Hamilton never returned. After the dog was back in stable condition, it was determined that Hamilton’s girlfriend was the owner of the dog, but not at fault, and the dog was released back to its owner.

“It’s too hot. People do not need to leave their kids or their animals in a vehicle when it’s 90 degrees outside,” said Conn. “If you can’t take them in, especially the animals, leave them at home.”

Officers also say marijuana was found in Hamilton’s car and, during the arrest, a small glass pipe with brown residue was found in his pocket.

Hamilton is facing multiple charges including public intoxication, fleeing and evading, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, shoplifting ($500 or more but under $10,000), and 2nd-degree cruelty to animals. Hamilton was booked in the Pike County Detention Center.

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