Dog rescued from hot truck, owner arrested

Fresno, CALIF. (FOX26) -- A man is now facing charges, after Fresno County Sheriff's deputies say he left his dog in a hot truck Sunday afternoon.

"It was 119 degrees," says Elisa Milton, an Animal Services Officer for Fresno Humane Animal Services. "The window had been broken 15 minutes and it was still that hot in the back of the truck."

A good samaritan came to the rescue of the eight-year-old chihuahua, named Peewee.

"He was very wonderful for doing what he did," Milton said.

The man spotted a truck with Peewee inside, parked at "I Pull- You Pull" south of Fresno.

He waited 20 minutes.

There was no sign of the owner.

So, he grabbed a brick, shattered the window, and pulled out the pup.

"He was concerned he'd be in trouble for what he did," Milton said.

Instead, many are praising his actions.

It was legal, thanks to the Good Samaritan law that went into effect last year, protecting pets left in hot vehicles.

"You have the legal right to use reasonable force to get the animal out of the vehicle," says Brenda Mitchell, Board President for Fresno Humane Animal Services.

She says this includes breaking a window.

"You want to look at a situation and see if an animal is in distress," she says. "Call law enforcement right away."

Once Peewee's owner showed up, he wanted the dog back.

He also wanted for the good samaritan to pay for the broken window.

Instead, deputies arrested the dog's owner, 62-year-old Ruben Rosas for felony cruelty to an animal.

He told deputies had been in the truck with the dog, waiting for a friend.

When it got too hot in the truck for him, he decided to go into the business to look for his friend.

He left the dog behind because he wouldn't be allowed to take a pet inside.

"It goes fast, and before you know it, you have a car that's blazing hot and an animal that's dying," Mitchell said.

Fresno Humane Animal Services took custody of Peewee.

Rosas posted bail and is due in court in May.

Mitchell says Rosas can get Peewee back if he pays the proper fees and fines -- until the courts say otherwise.

"Law enforcement is serious. We're serious. Sweet little animals shouldn't suffer. If we come across it, we're gonna take it very, very serious," Mitchell says.

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