A Holiday man was charged with animal cruelty after police removed a mother dog and seven puppies from a hot, parked U-Haul in Fort Myers.
Dustin Michael Unwin, 27, was arrested Sunday evening after he approached investigating officers and claimed ownership of the dogs and U-Haul truck parked at 2828 Jackson Street, officials said in a prepared statement issued Monday.
Fort Myers police report officers were dispatched after the department received a 911 call at 7:13 p.m. advising that several dogs were locked in a U-Haul truck and seemed to be in distress. The caller said the vehicle was not running, the windows were rolled up and the owner had not been seen for approximately 45 minutes.
Officers with puppies.
Officer Kelsey Evenson discvered a female pit bull standing on the vehicle seat panting, the release states, adding Evenson also heard crying from multiple puppies somewhere inside the vehicle. Evenson discovered the vehicle was unlocked and immediately entered it to rescue the distressed dogs.
"Once inside the vehicle, officers located seven additional puppies inside a cardboard box on the passenger side floorboard," the release states. "Officers noted the puppies were all crying, panting and two were barely moving with light breathing. Lee County Emergency Medical Service along with Fort Myers Fire Department and Lee County Domestic Animal Services were summoned to assist."
While waiting for assistance, officers took the puppies into their patrol vehicles hoping the cold air conditioning would assist in their recovery. Tenants at the apartment complex also brought a large bowl of cold water to the officers who began to bathe the puppies to bring their temperatures down. Upon arrival, Fort Myers Fire Department personnel began supplying oxygen to the puppies with a breathing mask to help with their recovery.
At the culmination of the on-scene investigation Unwin was charged with animal cruelty.
The 2-year-old mother dog and seven two-week old puppies were all turned over to an agent with L.C.D.A.S.
According to the Weather Center the high temperature in Fort Myers for Sunday was 96 degrees, officials said.
"We are very thankful for the observant 911 caller and the quick actions of all the public service professionals who brought great resolution to this potentially tragic incident," said police spokesperson Lt. Victor Medico.
Source: Fort Myers Police Department