Update: 5 dogs locked in U-Haul trailer were filthy, malnourished

Blackstone Valley

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Local animal officials are reminding people to take care of their pets during this excessive heat, this after five dogs were found in hot U-Haul trailer.

An Eyewitness News viewer sent video from the Walmart in North Smithfield Friday afternoon, showing the dogs panting, locked inside crates in the vehicle.

At the time, it was 86 degrees, but felt like 93. And experts say the temperature inside a vehicle can be more than 20 degrees hotter than it is outside.

Police say Jeffrey Menard Levesque was driving the truck. He claimed he had only gone inside the store for a few minutes, but surveillance video showed the truck parked outside for an hour and nine minutes.

All five dogs were seized by animal control and treated by a local veterinarian.

Investigators say they were matted with feces and urine and some appeared malnourished. One of the dogs, a Chihuahua, was missing his front legs.

Levesque is now facing several charges, including mistreatment of animals, unnecessary cruelty to animals and animal confinement in motor vehicle prohibited.

Police are using this case as an opportunity to remind people that it’s against the law to leave your pets in hot cars.

They also urge owners to keep their dogs indoors where it’s cooler and give them plenty of water.

You can also click here to learn more about how to care for your pets in the excessive heat.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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