Texas man accused of animal cruelty after Florida police find 3 dogs in hot truck bed

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A Texas man is accused of keeping three dogs in a truck bed kennel in hot conditions while driving through Southwest Florida, authorities said.

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Anthony Alexio Tatum, 34, of Lewisville, was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated animal cruelty, resisting without violence and failure to register a motor vehicle, according to Lee County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.

According to a news release from the Cape Coral Police Department, Tatum was stopped by officers for several traffic infractions at about 8:30 p.m. EST.

Officers said that when they approached Tatum, he was “immediately argumentative” and refused to provide identification, WINK-TV reported. Tatum allegedly rolled up the window of his vehicle, leaving a small space open, and continued to disregard orders, according to the television station.

Officers eventually used a window breaker to allow them to open the door and remove Tatum from the vehicle, WFXT-TV reported. Tatum allegedly continued to resist efforts by officers to place him in handcuffs, according to the television station.

An inspection of the vehicle revealed that three dogs were occupying makeshift kennels in the rear bed of Tatum’s truck, according to the police department news release. The kennels were surrounded by plywood and wrapped in a tarp and provided poor ventilation, police said.

Police added that the temperature inside the kennel was “uncomfortably hot” and that the dogs were panting and appeared “visibly distressed.”

There was no food or water in the kennels, police said. The dogs also had bloody mouths from attempting to escape from the kennels, WBBH-TV reported.

The dogs were taken to Lee County Domestic Animal Services, WINK reported. Tatum was booked into the Lee County Jail, where he remains as of Wednesday night, online records show.

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