Three Simi Valley girls aged 1 to 5 were hospitalized with heat-related issues Monday after their mother left them inside her locked car to seek assistance for an ill pet, police said.
The girls, ages 1, 3 and 5, were treated at Simi Valley Hospital and later released to a relative, Simi Valley police Cmdr. Stephanie Shannon said. The youngest girl was most affected by the heat, but responded well to treatment, Shannon added.
The girls’ mother, Amanda Woodruff, was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to police.
Woodruff, 28, had driven to a veterinary hospital in the 1700 block of Los Angeles Avenue about 3:40 p.m. seeking help for a sick dog, Shannon said.
Woodruff then allegedly left the girls inside the locked car for at least 20 minutes while she went inside the hospital -- windows rolled up and the engine off.
“She was concerned for the dog’s welfare and subsequently chose to leave her children in the car,” Shannon said.
While inside the hospital, she apparently got involved in a loud argument with the staff, drawing the attention of neighboring business owners who called police.
As officers spoke to Woodruff, they noticed she appeared to be impaired by drugs or alcohol, Shannon said.
When Woodruff took the officers to her car, they found her daughters, who were “showing signs of heat distress,” according to police.
The girls were rushed to a local hospital. Child Protective Services officials were also notified.