Palm Coast, FL - Seventeen assorted dogs, puppies, and cats are in the hands of Palm Coast Animal Control (PCAC) after being rescued from the inside of a U-Haul truck yesterday (July 28) afternoon. The Flagler County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) was alerted to the dire situation when they responded to a call at Harbor Freight about an animal problem. They arrested 29-year-old Jason Donellan-Sparks and 23-year-old Shawna Doud and charged them with Animal Cruelty.
In what Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly says is a "great example of ‘see something, say something’ a witness who pulled into the parking lot as the U-Haul truck was pulling in. "As I was walking by the truck I heard what I thought were birds chirping, then when the female that was inside the truck opened the liftgate, I noticed numerous dogs and puppies all in distress and panting with their tongues out. The female then started spraying the dogs with water but it was too hot inside the compartment. I told her it is best to get the dogs out and not to leave the scene."
The witness said the U-Haul truck was parked directly in front of the store. After he saw the animals, he directed Doud to move the truck to a shady spot in the parking lot. According to the incident report, "It should be noted the high on this date was 91 degrees and the low was 73 with 64 percent humidity."
The first responding deputy on scene, the witness, and owners of the animals pulled the animals out of the truck and placed them in cages outside of the U-Haul, pouring water on them and giving them drinking water. The Palm Coast Fire Department (PCFD) responded to assist with cooling off the animals.
The PCAC investigator confirmed the animals were not properly taken care of due to their appearance and matted fur. Animal Control stated the animals were extremely dehydrated and advised if the animals stayed inside the U-haul any longer they would have died.
Donellan-Sparks and Doud told deputies that they had left Tennessee around 10 p.m. the night before. The deputy's investigation found that the couple had committed the crime of animal cruelty and they were taken to the Flagler County Jail. Their bond was set at $5,000 each. They have both bonded out of jail. The animals were brought to a veterinarian for further medical evaluations.
“Here is a great example of ‘see something, say something’ and these animals only had minutes to spare,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Thank you to the citizen who spoke up and called us. I’m glad the animals are now in the hands of Animal Control and out of the custody of these two who obviously don’t know how to care for them. The Florida heat is dangerous and animals do not belong in vehicles without proper airflow as the result can be deadly. Thank you to all the agencies who came together to rescue the 17 animals from the U-Haul.”