ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Two dogs en route to the Eastside Animal Shelter on Monday afternoon were held in the back of an animal control van without cool air on a sweltering afternoon, according to Albuquerque City Spokesman Chris Ramirez.
Sources tell News 13 the dogs could have been caged for nearly an hour. Ramirez could not confirm how long they had been there.
Ramirez said animal control officers picked up a pit bull and a hound-mix from a home near Montgomery and Carlisle after neighbors complained they were roaming the street and overly aggressive.
"If an animal is threatening to bite you and charge you, it's going to have to be taken into the shelter," said Ramirez.
Ramirez said the pit bull had a history of attacking people, so the owner surrendered her on the spot. But the owner of the hound wasn't home at the time, so officers left a message for her to pick the dog up at the shelter. The dogs never made it there.
"I think it's very sad," said neighbor Patricia Ruybal, who said she has been attacked by the pit bull.
The animal control officer said he had to make another stop before dropping the dogs off, said Ramirez. The employee told officials the air conditioning switch was flipped on but later realized cool air wasn't blowing in the van's holding area.
"Was it the fault of the employee or was it a mechanical issue with that vehicle?," said Ramirez. "We're looking into both those avenues."
Ramirez said the animal control worker who captured the dogs has been reassigned within the department, so he does not have direct contact with animals. The van is awaiting maintenance.
The dogs' owners said they were too upset to speak with News 13, but Ramirez confirmed the owners may seek legal action.
There was some good news Wednesday. Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy Robin Hopkins has started walking again.
APD is looking for a hit-and-run driver who killed a pedestrian.
The end of the John McCluckey sentencing phase is drawing nearer.
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