Indian River Co. animal activist arrested after trying to save d - WFLA News Channel 8

Indian River Co. animal activist arrested after trying to save dog from heat

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Van DeMars Van DeMars
Davey Davey

Indian River County SPCA president was arrested on charges of petit theft after he said he tried to save a dog left alone in intense heat, WPTV reported.

Van DeMars was at a parking lot when he saw a dog chained to the car. The temperatures were in the 90s. The dog was panting, almost choking itself trying to get under the truck, according to WPTV.

"He's panting," DeMars told WPTV about the dog. "This is what happens when they first start to get into heat stress."

DeMars recorded a cell phone video of the dog. After waiting for a while for the owner to show up, he decided to free the dog, take it into shade and call authorities.

The dog's owner, Robert Huffman, 83, of Seffner, came before the police did, WPTV reported. He said he was at a store for about 30 minutes and had done this with his 14-year-old male dog Davey many times.

According to the WPTV story, investigators said Huffman had a water bowl for the dog and it was on a 15-foot leash. Huffman was not happy DeMars had untied Davie.

Indian River County deputies arrested DeMars a few days later and charged him with petit theft, WPTV reported. Investigators said, DeMars didn't return Davey to Huffman right away.

DeMars didn't regret freeing the dog, he told WPTV. He will appear in court later this months, according to WPTV.

Huffman said the dog was in good condition. He didn't agree to appear on camera for WPTV.

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