PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – Three employees of an animal shelter in Palo Alto have been charged in connection with the deaths of seven puppies while they were being transported from the Central Valley over the summer.
According to Palo Alto Police, three employees of the Pets in Need animal shelter took a company van to pick up dogs from other shelters in the Central Valley on August 2. The van, according to police, did not have air conditioning in the rear and temperatures that day ranged from 90 to 100 degrees.
A total of 27 dogs were picked up during the trip, including the seven puppies. The puppies were all from the same litter, about three to four months old, and weighed about nine pounds each.
Police said the suspects did not provide water to the dogs while transporting them back to Palo Alto. The suspects said the dogs did not appear distressed when they stopped for gas in Los Banos, but the puppies were unresponsive when they arrived at the shelter.
Despite assistance from veterinary staff, attempts to resuscitate the puppies was not successful. All of the other dogs survived the trip, police said.
Following an investigation, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office charged 40-year-old Patricia Santana Valencia of Palo Alto, 36-year-old Margaret Evans of Fremont and 45-year-old Ingrid Anne Hartmann of San Carlos. All three face charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty and misdemeanor animal neglect.
On Tuesday, detectives cited and released the suspects in accordance to standard protocol for nonviolent misdemeanor warrants. It was not immediately known when they would appear in court on the charges.
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