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Two charged after dog found dead in car at Salem commuter rail station

A French bulldog named Nigil died Sunday after his owners allegedly left him inside a locked car with all the windows closed for nearly six hours while the vehicle was inside the Salem commuter rail station garage with daytime temperatures in the 70s, Transit Police said.

The two owners were charged with cruelty to animals and were arraigned in Salem District Court on Monday. Bail was set at $250 each and the owners were ordered not to have custody, control or live with animals.

“This on the surface may appear to be irresponsible pet owners, but it is much more than that,’’ Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan, whose officers investigated the death of the dog, said. “This is criminal. Our pets depend on us to care for them properly. Clearly that was not done, which sadly resulted in the death of Nigil.”


Transit Police identified the dog’s owners as Brendan Bulfin, 38, and Courtney Casey, 28, both of New York.

According to Transit Police, officers responded to the garage around 6:08 p.m. acting on a tip from a passerby. Arriving officers found what they believed to the “lifeless body of a French bulldog lying in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.”

There was a large pool of vomit near where the animal was lying, police said.

The dog did not respond when officers knocked on the window, and the Salem Fire Department was called to help open the locked car. But at about the same time, Bulfin and Casey returned to the garage and identified the car and the three-year-old dog as theirs, police said.

Casey told Transit Police detectives that they had left the dog in the car so they could attend a carnival sometime after 1 p.m., and did not return until about 6:30 p.m.

The temperature Sunday was around 73 degrees, and Transit Police estimated that after just an hour inside a car with all windows closed, the temperature increased to 122 degrees.


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.