AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – 29-year-old Victor Daniel Martinez, was arrested Friday on charges of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals after Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputies found a locked vehicle full of dogs, cats, and a turtle, which Martinez claimed to own.
Last Thursday, two Richmond County Sheriff’s Office 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 found the vehicle in question, a blue 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, with the windows slightly cracked and the ignition turned off.
Because the dogs appeared to be panting heavily, deputies decided to used a vehicle lockout kit to open the Ford.
What first only appeared to be three dogs, soon grew to include, in total six dogs and three cats. The vehicle was heavily soiled inside.
Warrants for Martinez’s arrest claim that he the animals had been left in the vehicle without food, water, or access to sanitary conditions, citing willful neglect on Martinez’s part.
Deputies observed signs of dehydration in the dogs and began searching for the owner.
Once Martinez was found and identified, he was detained, and Animal Control was called.
A live turtle was found in the bed of the truck and turned over to Animal Control, as well.
According to an incident report filed after an investigation of the scene, Martinez told deputies that he had driven from Florida and had been living in his truck for a week with the animals.
A review of surveillance footage revealed that Martinez had not tended to the animals since 9:30 p.m. the day before, meaning that the animals had been unattended for more than 15 hours.
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.
One dog appeared to be suffering from mange, had a disfigured mouth, and was extremely malnourished and very thin.