'The Kaylee Project' hopes to end child, dog deaths in hot cars

Published: Sep. 12, 2019 at 5:14 PM CDT
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The death of a dog left in a hot car at Lambeau Field this summer sparks a new campaign in Green Bay.

Debbie Rohloff, 55, of Lawrence was charged after her golden retriever, Kaylee, died inside of a locked car on July 11.

Police say the dog was inside of the vehicle for more than three hours with all of the windows rolled up and no water left inside. Heat indexes that day exceeded 100-degrees.

"For myself, I forget my keys and my wallet and things like that, but I had two children, and we had pets," said Mark Steuer, City of Green Bay Common Council President. "We would carry them in the cars, and that's one of those things that just seems hard to believe that you would forget something like that was in the car."

A new initiative in Kaylee's name hopes to save others without a voice from experiencing the same fate.

"We're hoping that we can get these signs and different educational information out throughout the public, especially Wisconsin," said Joshua Jablonski, founder of Hidden Paws Network.

Rohloff did appear in court on Wednesday afternoon. She was sentenced after pleading no contest to one misdemeanor charge of intentionally failing to provide food for an animal.

Her sentence includes one year of probation and 50 hours of community service at the local humane society or other animal welfare organization. Court fees were waived, and there is no restriction in the terms against owning other animals.

"Some punishment is fine, and I'm not saying throw the book completely at them, but the dog, there's no recourse for the dog. It's gone," said Steuer.

'The Kaylee Project' includes parking lot signs, digital billboards activated at a certain temperature, window clings sold at retail stores and commercial buildings, and public safety announcements.

Steuer also plans to meet with the Green Bay Police Department and the city attorney to discuss tightening the penalties for offenders through ordinances.

"We're trying to get animals, at least domesticated pets, turned into more than just property in Wisconsin, because right now they don't have any real rights," said Jablonski.

The next official meeting for 'The Kaylee Project' is expected in November.