Trio accused of trying to sell distressed puppies on hot Florida beach

Three people are facing animal cruelty charges after deputies say they were peddling puppies on a Southwest Florida beach as the heat index soared past 100 degrees. 

Officers say they were called to the Naples Pier around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday because someone reported that several people were pulling a beach cart with several small puppies in it and trying to sell the dogs to beachgoers. 

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According to the Naples Police Department, the puppies were covered with a blanket in an apparent effort to hide the dogs, but they were being deprived of fresh air. 

The heat index in Naples was about 110 degrees at the time.

Courtesy: Naples Police Department

Police say they found six puppies under the blanket. Two of the dogs, according to NPD, had shallow breathing and were nearly unresponsive, appearing to be in distress due to heat-related symptoms.

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Officers said they immediately placed the dogs in a marked patrol vehicle with water and air conditioning on high.

After about 20 minutes, the pups seemed to be in better health and recovered from the heat. 

Courtesy: Naples Police Department

Police say the individuals, later identified as Ernest Augustin of Immokalee, Mariel Palominoca Campos, and Yuniesky Campos Hartman, both of Cape Coral, ‘unnecessarily deprived the dogs of necessary sustenance or shelter in a cruel manner.’ 

All three have been charged with cruelty to animals, which is a first-degree misdemeanor. 

Collier County Domesticated Animal Services was contacted and responded to the scene to take custody of the dogs for medical evaluation.

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