ECORSE, Mich. (WJBK) - Police say 17 dogs were rescued from the back of a sweltering hot box truck on 6th Street on an 85 degree day in Ecorse.
"The door on the truck was only open about six inches so the heat was trapped inside - there was no air flow at all," Brian Daugherty, an animal control officer with River Rouge and Ecorse.
Daugherty says it was easily 100 degrees inside that truck last Tuesday and the dogs had been there all day.
"Even though they had water containers, they were empty. It was a mess, it stunk horrible -- it was horrible," said Patty Trevino, manager of River Rouge Animal Shelter. "It was hot outside the truck - inside the truck was stifling."
The River Rouge Animal Shelter and another shelter took the 17 dogs that were inside the truck -- luckily none were found dead.
The dogs have no health certificates so it's really a mystery as to what may be wrong with them. One dog named Roxy had a microchip. They contacted her owner in Texas, who said she surrendered her a year ago.
"Dogs emaciated, overgrown nails - not dewormed - all of the basic care that a dog gets when it goes into a rescue - these dogs weren't given a chance for that and that is upsetting but most of all it's sad," said Kristina Rinaldi with Detroit Dog Rescue.
Investigators say it appears the dogs were en route from Louisiana to another rescue called Pit Stop for Change in southeast Michigan. They had to close down their River Rouge rescue due to zoning violations. They relocated and did not return calls for comment.
But since the dogs are now part of a police investigation and because they need medical attention, Detroit Dog Rescue is taking most of them to their veterinarians.
"Detroit Dog Rescue, River Rouge Animal Shelter should not have to step in to rescue dogs from a rescue," said Rinaldi.
So why were the dogs in a box truck in Ecorse in the first place? Police say the man who lives there was supposed to drive the dogs from Louisiana to the rescue, but didn't. It's not clear why but he could face charges of animal cruelty or neglect.
"If they would have done what they were supposed to do - this probably wouldn't have ever happened," said Ecorse Police Sgt. William McCaig.
The Ecorse man was not available for comment, but the whole mess has left many questioning what is going on with Pit Stop for Change dog rescue - more of their dogs were removed from a home in Taylor on Wednesday.