NASHVILLE, Tenn. - About 150 purebred puppies destined for pet stores were found overheated in a broken-down cargo truck. Four died, and others were feared exposed to the deadly parvo virus.
The dogs were found Tuesday afternoon by mechanics who were fixing a flat tire and other problems that arose as the driver passed through Nashville.
The truck driver, who was not identified, was charged with cruelty to animals and inhumane transport conditions, and is to appear in court June 7.
He told authorities he picked up the puppies Tuesday at Do Bo Tri Kennels in Purdy, Mo. Some were headed to pet stores in Tennessee, Florida and Georgia, while others were supposed to go to airports for shipment to pet stores on the East Coast.
The truck broke down in Nashville, where mechanics found the dogs in stacked plastic pet carriers in the cargo section. The air conditioning was not working and police estimated the temperature in the truck at 100 degrees.
''When we opened the door, the heat just about knocked us down,'' said mechanic Ray Lyle.
Jim Hughes, owner of the Do Bo Tri Kennels, said the puppies are checked every two hours when in transit.
''I'm confident that we did not violate any federal laws,'' Hughes said.
The puppies - which included purebred beagles, boxers and miniature pinschers - will be put up for adoption in Nashville.