‘Deplorable conditions’: 17 animals ‘on the brink of death’ rescued from Florida U-Haul truck

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — Two people were arrested on animal cruelty charges after deputies found 17 animals in the back of a U-Haul in “deplorable conditions,” our sister station WFTV reports.

According to deputies, a witness said they thought they heard birds chirping from inside a truck that was parked near a Palm Coast business Wednesday afternoon.

Photos: Deputies: Animals on “brink of death” rescued in Flagler County

That was when the witness said she saw the passenger of the U-Haul, later identified as Shawna Doud, open the back of the truck with numerous dogs, cats, and puppies inside.

Investigators say the witness then saw Dowd begin spraying the dogs with water in an attempt to cool the animals down.

When deputies arrived on scene they immediately began putting the animals in the back of their cruisers to try and cool the animals down.

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According to a sheriff’s office report, deputies found four cats and 13 dogs in the back of the U-Haul with no water or food in temperatures well above 90 degrees.

Deputies then took Doud and the driver of the truck, Jason Sparks, into custody.

During an interview with investigators, Sparks and Doud advised that they left Tennessee July 27 with their dogs and drove to Florida before stopping in Palm Coast.

Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly said this is a classic example of “see something, say something.”

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“Thank you to the citizens 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,” Staly said.

The animals were taken into custody by Animal Control and brought to a veterinarian for further medical evaluations.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.