FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A couple drove from Tennessee to Flagler County with 17 dogs and cats loaded into the back of a U-Haul truck without water or proper ventilation, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies arrested Jason Donellan-Sparks, 29, and Shawna Doud, 23, on Wednesday outside of a hardware store along Palm Coast Parkway in Palm Coast.
Investigators said they were called by a witness who watched as Doud opened the liftgate on the back of the truck and start spraying the animals inside with water. The witness told her to get the animals out of the vehicle and not leave the scene.
When deputies arrived, they said they found 13 dogs and four cats panting and in distress with feces in their fur, according to a news release. The animals were removed from the truck and given drinking water, records show.
The couple told deputies they had left Tennessee on July 27 with the animals, according to the news release. Deputies said they observed a bucket of water in the truck but not in the animal’s cages. They also said the cats had been given wet food, but the dogs had not.
Animal Control took custody of the animals and brought them to a veterinarian for further evaluation.
“Here is a great example of ‘see something, say something’ and these animals only had minutes to spare,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “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 air flow as the result can be deadly. Thank you to all the agencies who came together to rescue the 17 animals from the U-Haul.”
Donellan-Sparks and Doud were arrested and both face animal cruelty charges.