PALM DESERT – Valley veterinarian accused of killing his dog by leaving it in a locked in a hot vehicle may face disciplinary action.
Palm Desert Police officers responded to a call on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at about 9:04 a.m. regarding a dog locked in a vehicle on the 42000 block of Washington Street. Despite the early hour, temperatures were rising and the eight-year old German shepherd mix was without food or water and in distress. Officers were unable to locate the owner and broke the vehicle window in an attempt to save the dog’s life. The temperature inside the SUV was estimated between 140 and 150 degrees. The dog was removed from the vehicle but began convulsing and died, likely perishing from heat exhaustion.
Unexpectedly, the owner was identified as a local veterinarian, Douglas James Huber, age 51 from Rancho Mirage, who was located and subsequently arrested for animal cruelty and ultimately charged with misdemeanor animal endangerment. He was not charged with animal cruelty, because he had not intended to harm his dog, Perro, who had been a companion. It is reported that Huber may have been performing surgery on another animal while police were breaking the dog out of the SUV. Huber was said to be distraught over the situation.
Huber was freed after paying a $2,500 bond on Saturday. State law prohibits anyone from leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle if by doing so it endangers the health or well-being of the animal. The state agency that oversees veterinary licensing is investigating the situation and may bring about disciplinary action, however the process is lengthy. Authorities remind people that temperatures can rise rapidly in a closed vehicle and to avoid a similar tragedy by leaving animals at home.
SWRNN.com: Palm Desert: Vet arrested after dog locked in car dies
Palm Desert Patch: No Cruelty Charges Filed Against Local Vet