A high school teacher in Florida has been charged with animal cruelty after he left a puppy in the trunk of a Mercedes for over four hours.
The teacher, Mathew Emans, teaches computer classes at Gateway Charter High School in Fort Myers, Fla., reports local NBC affiliate WBBH.
The puppy is a male chocolate Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Oakley, perhaps four or five months old.
Oakley’s life was probably spared when a couple students noticed Emans take the dog out of the trunk at around 11 a.m. on Friday. They watched him walk the dog around. Then, they saw him stuff the poor little puppy back in the trunk and head back to class.
The students told a staffer at the school what they had observed. The staffer traced the car to Emans and summoned the teacher to open the trunk.
Inside, Oakley was still alive, panting like mad and in dire need of water.
Average daily high temperatures in Fort Myers at the end of September are nearly 90 degrees.
Ria Brown, a spokeswoman with the Lee County animal services division, told WBBH that the temperature inside the back of the car measured 157 degrees.
“He had mentioned something about only working a half a day that day—really no elaboration on why had the dog at school, why he would even think a half a day in the trunk would be okay,” Brown told WBBH.
School officials said Emans was scheduled for a full day of teaching on Friday.
Emans, who was at least one prior arrest, gave Oakley up to animal services. He also admitted to keeping the puppy in the trunk.
The dog was taken to a veterinary clinic.
The animal cruelty charge against the teacher is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.
School officials were mum when asked if Emans has been sacked. It’s also not clear if he is still collecting a salary.
Meanwhile, Oakley is now up for adoption. His picture and description are available are online.