A passerby noticed the blue SUV in the apartment parking lot and was concerned — there were four dogs inside the vehicle during the hottest time of day in Sacramento, California.

Image source: KMAX-TV

Image source: KMAX-TV

A Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputy arrived at the Sierra Fair apartments Thursday afternoon and broke into the SUV in an effort to save the animals, who had been trapped for over two hours, KMAX-TV reported.

But three of the dogs were already dead.

The fourth — a two-year old female — was rushed to a veterinarian’s office and is being treated by animal control officers.

Image source: KMAX-TV

Image source: KMAX-TV

And she’s not out of the woods yet.

“Right now we don’t know what the ultimate outcome will be,” Sacramento County animal control director Dave Dickinson told KMAX. “It is still in a guarded condition. It can take two or three days for the effect of heat exhaustion to take its toll on on an animal.”

Image source: KMAX-TV

Image source: KMAX-TV

Dickinson added to the station that “the windows were cracked about an inch open but that doesn’t give it anywhere near enough circulation in those conditions, it’s just not possible for those dogs to survive something like that.”

The sheriff’s department cited the suspect, 34-year old Trevor Courtney, on animal endangerment charges, KMAX reported, adding that he could lose the right to own dogs for 10 years if found guilty.

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