Veterinarian arrested after his dog dies in locked car

August 20th, 2012 at 7:47 am EDT

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Tragic News Story

Palm Desert veterinary surgeon Donald James Huber was arrested Saturday, August 4, after a dog locked inside his car allegedly had a seizure and died of suspected heat exhaustion, according to Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies. (Palm Desert is about 11 miles east of Palm Springs, California.)

Palm Desert Police Department responded on August 4 at 9:04 a.m. to a 911 call that  a dog was locked in a car in the 42000 block of Washington Street. When deputies arrived, they found the car parked at the Desert Veterinary Specialists Animal Hospital at 42-065 Washington St., with an 8-year-old German shepherd locked inside the vehicle without food and water, sheriff’s Sgt. Radek Horkel told reporters. “An officer broke the vehicle window in an attempt to save the dog’s life after not being able to locate the dog’s owner.”

 Deputy Joshua Morales said that the dog began seizing and died at the scene, according to The Desert Sun..

As deputies were preparing to tow the car away, the dog’s owner, Douglas James Huber, 51, of Rancho Mirage, arrived and was taken to the police station for questioning, Horkel said. Huber was confirmed by officials to be a veterinarian. He was then booked at the Riverside County Jail in Indio on a preliminary charge of misdemeanor animal endangerment.

Huber has been licensed to practice veterinarian medicine in California since 2004. Before that, he was licensed in Massachusetts since 1987, according to the Sun.. He has no public record of discipline and no criminal record in Riverside County.

California law prohibits leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of the animal. Conditions such as the weather, a lack of ventilation or lack of food or water can subject a person to criminal prosecution, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail, up to $500 in fines or both if the animal is injured or dies.

Dr. Huber was released just before 1:00 p.m. after posting $2,500 bail, according to booking records. He is scheduled to appear in court on October 10, the Palm Desert Patch reports.

The ongoing investigation of the incident is being conducted by the Palm Desert Police Department Investigative Bureau, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

It's Your Pet. Heal Them At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew Jones, DVM

P.S. Was this intentional?

Of course not.

He was dealing with a veterinary emergency, and lost track of the time.

Is it a tragic reminder about the real risk of heatstroke?


What do you think?

DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and
is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian.
Dr Andrew Jones resigned from the College of Veterinarians of
B.C. effective December 1 2010, meaning he cannot answer specific
questions about your pet's medical issues or make specific
medical recommendations for your pet.

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