1 Dog Dead, 35 Others Rescued From Hot Truck In Oklahoma City

A dog died but 35 others survived after they were rescued from a truck in Oklahoma City during sweltering temperatures.

Wednesday, June 7th 2023, 7:00 pm

By: Chris Yu


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A dog died but 35 others survived after they were rescued from a truck in Oklahoma City during sweltering temperatures.

Oklahoma City Police said they responded to the Walmart at 7800 NW Expressway at about 1 p.m. on Monday after store staff noticed the truck in a corner of the parking lot. Based on the sound and smell coming from the vehicle, it appeared the truck was full of animals.

Police said the outside temperature was 84 degrees and the U-Haul truck was not parked in the shade. A bolt cutter was used to open the cargo door, revealing 36 dogs and puppies inside the vehicle. Police said the cargo area's temperature was more than 100 degrees.

The dogs were inside cages, with some showing severe signs of heat stroke, police said. The crates themselves were filthy and some of them were so stuffed with dogs that the animals could not move freely. None of the dogs had access to food or water.

Jon Gary, superintendent of OKC Animal Welfare, said the dogs were likely inside the U-Haul truck for eight to 10 hours.

Some bystanders and Walmart employees helped officers bring the dogs out of the truck while OKC Animal Welfare tended to the animals.

Gary said they had to take immediate measures to help the dogs, such as using cooling towels and water.

"One of the first things the officer has to do is start to begin identifying ones that are in distress and immediately getting those dogs out, which our cruelty investigator did a very good job of that (Monday)," said Gary. "(She) started immediate heat stroke attention because many of them wouldn't - if she had not done those preemptive things there on scene, many of them wouldn't have made it, possibly made it back here."

Witness Grace Cavett had just arrived at the Walmart parking lot when she saw the rescue, prompting her to record the operation on her phone.

"It was very crazy to see that many at once being pulled out of something like that," said Cavett. "And they were all soaking wet. So I think they were pouring water on them. I saw a Walmart employee, like, drive up a van full of water."

Once the dogs were brought to OKC Animal Welfare, the shelter's veterinary staff provided IV fluids and other treatments to the dogs.

Gary said three or four of the dogs were showing signs of heat stroke, including one that was in critical condition. That dog later died.

"Unfortunately, that dog had to be euthanized (Tuesday), went into organ failure and wasn't doing well as a result of the heat stroke that it suffered," said Gary.

Among the surviving dogs was one who was pregnant. She gave birth to a litter at the shelter on Tuesday, said Gary. As for the other dogs that were rescued, OKC Animal Welfare was transferring them to partner agencies so they could be fostered.

On Tuesday, officers arrested 62-year-old Dexter Manuel and his wife, 61-year-old Linda Manuel, on 36 counts of animal cruelty, said Oklahoma City Police. Investigators added that there was evidence of a large puppy mill operation at the couple's home. Money and a phone were seized as evidence.

Gary said OKC Animal Welfare was working with police and the Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office on pursuing charges.

"It's really sad to see that going on, just thinking about my own puppies at home," said Cavett.

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