The minute two high school students saw a man open his car trunk and take out a puppy, they knew something was terribly wrong. When they saw him put the poor dog back into the trunk again, that was the clincher.
The two sharp-eyed students are almost certainly responsible for saving the life of a 5-month old puppy named Oakley in Fort Myers, Fla.
Around 11 a.m. on September 27th, they reportedly observed one of their school’s teachers, Mathew Emans, open the trunk of his Mercedes, pull a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier out, walk it around for a bit, and then put it back into the trunk.
The incident happened at the Gateway Charter High School in Fort Myers. Appalled by what they’d seen, the students went immediately to a School Resource Officer, who determined that the car belonged to Emans.
The school called Lee County Domestic Animal Services (LCDAS) officials, which sent officers to the scene. Emans was instructed to open his trunk. Oakley was inside — alive, but panting desperately and without any water to drink.
Oakley’s condition should be no surprise. The temperature inside the car, as measured by officials using an infrared thermometer, was an incredible 157 degrees. The temperature inside the trunk, after it had been open for 15 minutes, was a blistering 97 degrees, according to Ria Brown of LCDAS.
What Was He Thinking?
What was Emans’ excuse for storing a puppy in his trunk? Reportedly, he said it was “only for a few hours” and that he thought leaving Oakley there “for a short time” would be “fine.” He also asserted he was “only working a half day.”
“Why he would even think a half day in the trunk would be OK?” Brown asked. Truly, such a statement boggles the mind, especially coming from someone charged with the care and teaching of children. The school confirmed that Emans was in fact scheduled to work a full day.
Students interviewed by WINK News said they didn’t believe Emans intended to hurt the dog. One student said Emans told them he’d rather keep the dog in the trunk for a few hours than leave it home alone. Another student interviewed by KSN TV called Emans “a really nice guy.”
Perhaps he meant the dog no harm, but how did this presumably intelligent teacher not understand how quickly a closed car heats up? How many hours had Oakley already been sweltering in that trunk by the time he was found at 11 a.m.? Those two caring students who took the time to report what they saw undoubtedly saved little Oakley’s life.
Emans faces animal cruelty charges under Florida law, which may result in a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. It’s not clear whether he remains employed at the Gateway Charter High School.
Emans surrendered Oakley to authorities at the scene. Oakley is now up for adoption at Lee County Domestic Animal Services in Fort Myers. May he find an owner who will treat him with the love and care he deserves.
Photo credit: Photo: Lee County Domestic Animal Services