Attorney: Dog rescue owner didn't know they were in hot truck 14 hours

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Nearly two dozen dogs rescued after being left in a hot moving van.

A judge says the animals should be returned to the shelter accused of neglecting them, but other local rescue groups are fighting back.

A bitter battle unfolded inside a Lincoln Park courtroom Monday as Dave McMurtrie, the man accused of leaving 17 dogs inside a hot truck in Ecorse fought to get some of them back.

Just to be clear he had no knowledge of inside that truck with the 17 dogs," said attorney Danielle Cadoret.

Cadoret:  "Mr. McMurtrie wasn't there was he?"

Witness: "No ma'am.

Cadoret: "He had no part in any of this, did he?"

Judge: "Objection, cause for speculation."

McMurtrie, an ex-con, was running the River Rouge rescue Pit Stop for Change when he was accused of sending dogs back to Michigan from Louisiana in the back of a moving truck in May.

The dogs were discovered without food or water in a driveway in Ecorse. The driver of the truck was charged.
"The dogs were at this location in the city of Ecorse for over 14 hours with little ventilation," the judge said. "The only thing that was there, was a small fan that was blowing air into the truck."

While nine of the dogs are now being cared for by Detroit Dog Rescue, the manager of River Rouge Animal Control said they don't have enough room or manpower to take care of the remaining eight. Detroit Dog Rescue stepped in to help, again.

The attorney for McMurtrie, Danielle Cadoret, reiterated in court that McMurtrie had no idea the dogs were in the truck and should be able to choose where the dogs are placed.

"You're saying that they have kennel neurosis from being in a cage or kennel," Cadoret said to Kristina Rinaldi of the Detroit Dog Rescue which has taken some of the dogs. "You're doing the same thing?"

"It's very different," the witness said.

The judge agreed with prosecutors placing the remaining dogs with Detroit Dog Rescue. 
Outside of court McMurtrie called the ruling ridiculous and unfair. His attorney called it harassment and is not willing to comment.
"I know the court just wanted to get the dogs to a safe place while the trial continues and the Detroit Dog Rescue is really happy that we can help facilitate that," Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi, Detroit Dog Rescue's executive director, says they are also caring for dogs from Pit Stop for Change from another case and just wants to see all 17 dogs who have already suffered enough get better.

"Their scars have healed, their nails are trimmed, their urine burn is healed and washed away," Rinaldi said. "We are happy to have them in our care. Our main focus is to make sure these dogs stay healthy."