AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A week ago, 10 animals, including three kittens, six dogs, and a turtle, were rescued from a hot truck parked outside the Red Roof Inn at 3030 Washington Road.
Now, after the animals were turned over to City of Augusta Animal Services, all are alive, with one receiving full-service medical treatment at a veterinary clinic, one transferred to rescue, several being housed at the Augusta Animal Services shelter, and another being released in the wild.
Last Thursday, Oct. 14th, two Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Red Roof Inn at 3030 Washington Road in response to a call about animals locked in a hot vehicle.
The deputies arrived shortly after noon and, according to Richmond County Sheriff’s Office documents, found the vehicle in question, a blue 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, with the windows slightly cracked and the ignition turned off. At first, it appeared that there were only three dogs in the truck, with the animals panting heavily.
Once deputies employed a vehicle lockout kit to open the Ford, they discovered that the vehicle was full of animals of all shapes, sizes, and types, almost all noticeably suffering:
- Two female orange tabby cats, both approximately 4 months old, both thin and dehydrated, covered in fleas
- A male Siamese cat, also approximately 4 months old, which was suffered from the same malnourishment and pests as the other kittens, but also with a partially amputated rear leg
- Three Pit bull mixes, two male and one female; one a brown and white male, the other black and white, and the female brown and brindle
- A Belgian Melinois mix
- Two Chihuahuas, both female, one 10 years old and the other 8, both thin and covered in fleas, both suffering with severe dental disease
All together, there were six dogs and three cats found inside the vehicle, which arrest warrants described as heavily soiled, and a turtle, which was discovered in the bed of the truck.
In addition to a profusion of animal waste, there was allegedly no food nor water found inside the vehicle.
Many of the animals relieved themselves after being released from the vehicle, all exhibiting signs of dehydration, according to law enforcement documents.
Next, Richmond County Animal Control Officers were called to the scene, while the deputies contacted the front desk and examined surveillance footage that showed the animals had been left in the vehicle for more than 15 hours without let out, fed, watered, or tended to, according to responding deputies’ incident reports on the incident.
The last contact by the driver of the vehicle, allege deputies who reviewed surveillance video, had been at 9:30 p.m. the night before – it wasn’t until the next day at noon that deputies responded to the scene of animals locked inside a hot vehicle.
Several of the animals are currently receiving medical treatment under supervision by medical professionals at Augusta Animal Services.
The most severe case, which was specifically noted in the arrest warrant filed against the owner in the case, was that of the oldest Chihuahua.
The 10-year-old female was admitted to a veterinary clinic to receive treatment for extreme emaciation, including highly progressed dental disease that that left her lower jaw rubbery from lack of use, according to Augusta Animal Services reports supervised by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
The younger, 8-year-old Chihuahua also suffered from severe dental disease and malnutrition and has been transferred to a rescue.
The male Siamese kitten will have to have an entire back leg removed, according to the reporting Veterinarian, and is currently receiving care at the shelter.
Most of the other animals remain at the Augusta Animal Service shelter, while the brown and green turtle found in the back of the truck was released into its natural habitat by Animal Control Officers.
29-year-old Victor Daniel Martinez told Richmond County Deputies he had driven from Florida and had been living in his truck for a week with the animals, according to a filed incident report in the case.
Martinez’s home address was listed as Ocala, FL, but he was driving a Ford Explorer Sport Trac pick-up with Colorado plate. Martinez’s driver’s license was issued in New York state.
He remains in custody at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on one charge of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals.