Three employees charged for death of 7 puppies in shelter van

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Three California animal shelter employees are facing charges for the death of seven puppies who died in a van in late August. On October 26, the city of Palo Alto issued a release about the charges involving employees at the Pets In Need Palo Alto Animal Shelter.

The release identifies the three people who are being cited for the puppy deaths:

40-year-old Patricia Santana Valencia of East Palo Alto, 36-year-old Margaret C. Evans of Fremont, and 45-year-old Ingrid Anne Hartmann of San Carlos

Investigators started looking into what happened on August 3, one day after the seven pit bull/Labrador mix puppies were found deceased in the back of the shelter’s 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The release said:

The employees were gone for several hours on this transport trip and had picked up 27 dogs in total including seven puppies. The puppies were from the same litter, were about three to four months old, and weighed about nine pounds each. The van lacked air conditioning in the rear cargo area, and the employees did not provide water to the animals during transport. The temperature in the Central Valley that afternoon was in the range of 90 to 100 degrees.

The employees stated that none of the dogs appeared to be distressed when they were checked on during a stop along the route, but when they arrived at the shelter, seven puppies in the van were unresponsive. Veterinary staff at the shelter attempted to revive the puppies, but none of them survived. The other dogs in the van lived.

The release states:

Detectives presented the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, who chose to file two misdemeanor charges (animal cruelty and neglect) against each of the three suspects. A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge signed arrest warrants on October 25, and on the afternoon of October 26, detectives cited and released the suspects in accordance to standard protocol for non-violent misdemeanor warrants.

As they were cited, no booking photos are available.

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