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FORT MYERS, Florida (WBBH) – A Gateway Charter High School teacher is charged with animal cruelty after reportedly leaving a four-month-old puppy in his trunk.
On Friday around 11 a.m., two students from Gateway Charter High School noticed a man take a puppy out of the trunk of a Mercedes, walk it around – and then put it back in the trunk.
The students immediately notified the School Resource Officer, who found out the car belonged to Mathew Emans, a teacher at the school.
Emans, pictured at right in an unrelated arrest, was instructed to open the trunk. The puppy was still alive.
Lee County Domestic Animal Services was called to the scene.
Emans surrendered the puppy to animal services. Officers transported it to the agency’s veterinary clinic for care.
They say the puppy was panting heavily and in need of water.
Ria Brown with Animal Services says the trunk was registering 157 degrees. She says when they asked Emans why he did it, he said he was only working half a day.
“Why he would even think a half day in the trunk would be OK?” asked Brown.
School officials confirmed he was scheduled to be there the entire school day.
It is unclear why he had the dog with him at the school in the first place.
They would not say whether Emans still worked at the school or not, citing employment privacy concerns.
Emans was charged with misdemeanor Animal Cruelty, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
The puppy, a Staffordshire Terrier named “Oakley,” is available for adoption. The shelter is taking applications.