Melbourne woman accused of leaving small dog inside hot SUV

By Greg Pallone, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 6:26 PM EDT

A Melbourne woman is accused of leaving a small dog in a hot car while shopping and then attempting to run over the responding deputy on Wednesday, deputies said.

Brevard County deputies said Latisha Martin, 43, was shopping with her family at the Melbourne Square Mall just before noon. She left her Chihuahua mix in the SUV, authorities said.

Someone spotted the dog inside the vehicle and called 911.

Lexi Applegate, an animal services officer with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, responded and met the woman at the SUV. Applegate took the temperature readings that showed it was 118 degrees inside the vehicle.

When the officer said Martin was being cited for animal cruelty, she got in the vehicle and backed up toward Applegate, striking her in the leg and causing her to fall to the ground.

Martin sped away, but she was caught a few blocks from the mall.

"There was a disregard for our officer's well-being," said Tod Goodyear, a spokesman with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. "As well as she already showed a disregard for the animal. Taking off means she knew she was guilty."

The officer and the dog are said to be OK. Deputies said Martin showed no remorse during her arrest. She has been charged with animal cruelty and aggravated battery.

Martin was booked into the Brevard County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon.