Woman charged with animal cruelty at Westfield mall

A Bridgeport woman is facing a charge of animal cruelty after police said she left her small dog alone in her car for more than two hours in 20-degree weather.

According to reports, police received a call about 6 p.m. Thursday of a small Yorkie-type dog shivering in a car parked in the lot near Target. Officers arrived and reported the temperature was 21 degrees.

Footage from Target’s security cameras showed the car had been parked since 5:15 p.m. Officers attempted to call the vehicle’s owner, Dominique Porchea, 34, of Bridgeport, but were unable to reach her.

Attempts to enter the car using a vehicle lockout tool were unsuccessful, and at 7:23 p.m. police broke the car’s window because it appeared the dog, who was wearing two shirts, was in distress due to the cold. Police left a note on the car for Porchea telling her to come to Police Headquarters. The dog was taken to the town animal shelter.

Porchea was charged with one count of cruelty to animals. She was released on a promise to appear in court Dec. 26.