CLEARWATER, Fla. (WWSB) - A hospital worker is facing felony animal cruelty charges after police say a 2-year-old dog died and a cat was severely dehydrated when the man left them inside his vehicle.
A security employee at a hospital in Clearwater called police after seeing the animals in the vehicle late Monday evening. When Pinellas County Animal Control officers arrived, they found a mixed breed dog dead inside the vehicle and a cat that was severely dehydrated.
Police located their owner, 38-year-old Jeffrey Hazen, and say he told officers that he works at the hospital and had driven from Georgia to Clearwater and gone straight to work, leaving the animals in the vehicle. He reportedly told police that locally he had been living out of his vehicle.
Police say Hazen told them he had left the vehicle running when he began his shift around 2:30pm, but found the car off and his dog, Biscuit, dead when he checked on the animals around 7:30pm. Police say Hazen went back to work after discovering his dog had died and did not report the death to police or animal control.
Police say temperatures were in the middle and upper 70s on Monday with high humidity.
Hazen was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty. He was taken to the Pinellas County Jail.