On Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 7:13 p.m. the Fort Myers Police Department received a 911 call advising several dogs were locked in a U-Haul truck and seemed to be in distress. The caller further advised the vehicle was not running, the windows were rolled up and the owner had not been seen for approximately 45 minutes.
Once on scene at 2828 Jackson Street Officer Kelsey Evenson observed a female pit bull standing on the vehicle seat panting. Officer Evenson also heard crying from multiple puppies somewhere inside the vehicle. Officer 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. 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 distressed puppies into their patrol vehicles hoping the cold air conditioning would assist in their recovery. Tenants at the apartment complex brought a large bowl of cold water to the officers who began to bathe the puppies to bring their temperature down. Fort Myers Fire Department personnel began supplying oxygen to the puppies with a breathing mask to facilitate the recovery.
While officers were on scene the vehicle owner, Dustin Michael Unwin (d.o.b. 08/14/1986 of Holiday, Florida), approached officers and claimed ownership of the dogs and U-Haul truck. At the culmination of the on-scene investigation Unwin was arrested for animal cruelty. The 2-year old mother 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.
“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 Lieutenant Victor Medico.
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