Aurora driver receives animal cruelty warning after viral photo of dog in open truck bed

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora Animal Services says an Aurora man has received an animal cruelty warning after photos surfaced of a snow-covered dog in the bed of a pickup truck with the tailgate down on a highway.

The photo was taken near Parker Road and Interstate 225 during Thursday’s snowstorm. The temperature was around 16 degrees.

On Thursday, the FOX31 Problem Solvers contacted the Colorado State Patrol about the photo, who then reached out to Aurora Animal Services.

According to Aurora Animal Services, it is illegal to transport an animal without adequate shelter, regardless of the weather.

Animal Services Officer Anthony Youngblood says dispatch received multiple 911 calls from concerned citizens Thursday.

Officers were able to track the man down from a license plate number given in one of the 911 calls.

Youngblood says the driver told officers he actually had two animals in the back of the truck and both were secured with harnesses. The man was forthcoming and apologetic, according to Youngblood.

Youngblood says the man received the warning for violating the following city ordinance related to animal cruelty:

Open vehicle. No person who owns or has control of any animal shall allow such animal to ride in any open motor vehicle or vessel in such a manner as to permit injury to the animal. For purposes of this subsection, the operator of a motor vehicle shall be deemed to have control of any animals riding therein. Factors to be considered by the court shall include, but are not limited to the following:

(1) Transporting any animal in an open truck or any motor vehicle or vessel in such a manner as to permit an animal to jump or be thrown therefrom by acceleration of, stopping of or accident involving the vehicle.

(2) Weather conditions and temperature of the vehicle.

(3) Tethering or securing any animal in such a way that it may be thrown from the vehicle by acceleration of, stopping of or accident involving the vehicle.

Dr. Missy Tasky, a veterinarian at Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, said the dog in the photo appears to be a malamute.

“That breed of dog can withstand extreme temperatures, extreme cold better than the average dog. But in general, just like for people, they can get frostbite,” she said.

Tasky said it can be dangerous for dogs to be outside in cold weather with no cover and no way to safely move around to stay warm.

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