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'It's absolutely torture,' women in cages protest East Tennessee pit …

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WATE) – Two women in Cleveland spent an hour in dog cages to protest the treatment of a pit bull.

A photo of “Sparkles,” posted by a neighbor, went viral last week. The picture showed the pit bull outside in a cage in front of the house.

Previous story: Knoxville pit bull rescue group confronts Tenn. woman about leaving dog outside

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Department held a news conference to address the issue. On Wednesday and said they investigated the picture and have not found any sort of criminal act towards the dog.

Timothy White, the owner of the dog, said the picture doesn’t tell the whole story. He said his dog is healthy and well cared for.

Previous story: East Tennessee pit bull owner responds to criticism after viral Facebook photo

However, Southeast Voice for Animals said they disagree with the sheriff’s department and with White. Friday, Beth Foster and Vanessa Curley protested in front of the Bradley County Court House during their “Free Sparkles” campaign. Supporters held signs that said “Is this humane confinement? The sheriff thinks so.”

“What we know about Sparkles is that she has been confined in exactly this manner for up to 3 hours at a time and the Bradley County Sheriff says that is not inhumane, that is not cruelty, that is a perfectly acceptable way to confine a sentient being,” said Foster.

Foster said the cage became so hot in the sun it blistered her son. During the hour she was in the cage she said she had a headache from the sun and her stomach felt upset.

“They cannot get away, get out to seek shelter, to seek cool concrete, to seek cool dirt, to seek anything cooler. It’s absolutely torture in here,” said Curley.

Both Foster and Curley criticized the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. They said the sheriff’s department is not the authority on animal safety or animal health. They felt like the sheriff’s office should have contacted the SPCA of Tennessee to handle the issue.

“This is about Sparkles, but it’s not just about Sparkles,” said Foster. She said she protested to raise awareness that animals should not be left in a cage or on a leash in the heat.

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