Dustin Unwin, the former Lehigh Acres resident, who was charged on Sunday with animal cruelty for leaving his dog and her seven tiny puppies in his U-Haul truck for 45 minutes during the heat of the day, denies the allegations and states he was only gone for ten minutes reports the Newspress.com.
On Sunday afternoon, as the weather in south Florida's Fort Meyers soared to a record high of 96 degrees, a concerned citizen at the Villa Capri condos on Jackson Street called authorities after seeing a dog left in a U-Haul truck parked in the lot.
When officers from the Fort Meyers Police Department arrived, they removed the mother dog and her two-week-old puppies. On the department's Facebook page, more details were supplied stating:
"Once inside the vehicle, officers located seven additional puppies inside a cardboard box on the passenger side floorboard. 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."
Unwin states he is an animal lover and has always taken care of his dogs and has owned the mother dog named Precious since she was eight-months old. He claims he is trying to find homes for the puppies since his new home limits the number of pets he can own. Unwin also owns a male pit bull named Mustaffa; the sire of the pups.
Unwin contends he left to purchase food and drinks for the trip to Hollywood where he was moving, and left the vehicle at 7:10 p.m. and returned at 7:20.
"I have no reason to be abusive. I was practically in tears last night. I have never been in trouble. I am not out to hurt animals, that's not who I am. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Unwin stated.
Precious and her puppies are all doing well at Lee County Domestic Animal Services, and it will be up to Animal Control if they decide to petition the court for custody of the dogs or return them to Unwin.
If you travel with pets in the summer, it becomes your responsibility to make sure they are comfortable and safe. Please leave your pets home.
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