Rescue the Animals Abilene cuts ties with transport group after dogs travel in 120 degree heat

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Rescue the Animals in Abilene is cutting ties with an animal transport group after over 80 dogs arrived in Indiana after traveling in 120 degree heat. 

The dogs, rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and from hoarding houses across the State, were picked up in Abilene Friday by transport group GRROWL and were sent to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where they were set to be distributed to non-profit shelters in the area. 

Somewhere along way, something went wrong with the transport, because when the dogs arrived at their destination, the box truck they were inside had reached temperatures  of over 120 degrees, and when the animals were unloaded, volunteers said several were unconscious and vomiting - signs of heat stroke. 

“I’m real angry,” Veterinary Technician Melissa Saylor told our sister station WANE. “I’m real upset. Six of the dogs were taken away immediately by the [Allen County] sheriff’s department to get emergency medical attention, meaning their lives were in imminent danger.”

Paul Washburn, President of Abilene's Rescue the Animals, SPCA chapter, told KTAB and KRBC that the animals and the truck were checked by a veterinarian in Oklahoma City and passed the inspection, but sometime between Oklahoma City and Indiana, he says "they did not take proper care of the animals and this disturbs us more than we can even begin to say."

Washburn says the truck was air-conditioned and he doesn't know what happened to cause the temperature to rise to 120 degrees between Oklahoma City and Indiana and says that volunteers with GRROWL did not watch the temperature in the truck properly. 

KTAB and KRBC reached out to the Allen County Sheriff's Office and learned all six dogs seized from the truck are now in good condition, and all other dogs were in good health upon arrival. 

There is a rumor circulating that a puppy was stolen from the trailer when it arrived in Indiana and later passed away, but the Allen County Sheriff's Office and Paul Washburn say they have been unable to substantiate this claim. 

Washburn also stated that his organization has used the GRROWL transport company numerous times before, even for large-scale operations like transporting animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and there have been no issues previously. However, he is "very, very, very upset" at the outcome of this transport and he will be cutting all ties with GRROWL moving forward. 

He says that because of GRROWL's actions, the animals were subjected to a "heartbreaking" and "unfortunate situation" that was beyond the control of Rescue the Animals. 

No criminal charges have been filed at this point, but the Allen County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident and will update KTAB and KRBC once the investigation is concluded. 

KTAB and KRBC have reached out to GRROWL but have not heard from a representative as of 4:00 p.m. Friday. 

Check back with BigCountryHomepage for the latest information. 

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