SILVER SPRING, Md. - A Maryland man will go on trial on charges of animal cruelty charges for allegedly abusing 33 Chihuahuas and leaving them in a hot SUV.
Court documents say Javier Peralta from Silver Spring was arrested by Montgomery County police in September after they received a call that dozens of dogs were left unattended in a truck in the parking lot of an Aspen Hill apartment complex.
Officials say temperatures were in the 80s that day, and at the time they arrived at the car it was 72 degrees.
Officers say they found 33 Chihuahua dogs, including three pregnant dogs, inside a Ford Expedition, which was full of trash. Police say the dogs, which included several puppies, were left without food, water, or cooling, and were all in various states of health. According to officials, several showed signs of overheating, dehydration and starvation.
Detectives say in speaking with 41-year-old Peralta, he identified himself as the owner of the dogs, and said they were well-taken care of. He allegedly told officers there were 20 dogs in the car, but once police were taking a final count, they found there were several more.
Peralta, who strongly disputes the charges said the dogs were in his SUV because he'd been evicted and was taking them to a new home. He told police he was at the apartment complex for a friend's party, where he had been for an hour, and when police asked him to turn on the air conditioning, he said he couldn't because it wasn't working.
Investigators say they found two 4-month-old puppies that were not responsive to officers and needed immediate medical attention.
One dog was found to be extremely malnourished and had to be put down, while the other was revived after being cared for by doctors, investigators say. They say both pupa were found to have plastic and metal in their stomachs from foraging after not being fed proper meals.
Police say the rest of the dogs were taken to Montgomery County Police Animal Services and Adoption Center.
Peralta is scheduled for a trial in July.