FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — When Brooke King got a call her dog Vinny had been involved in an accident, she thought maybe it was a bite from another dog.
When Lezlie Kurtz got the same call about her husband’s dog, Alice, a mastiff mix, she thought maybe she had been hit by a car.
Neither suspected that when they made it to a veterinarian’s office on the west side of Fort Worth last Wednesday, they would find the dogs were gone. Along with a third dog, they were overcome by heat after they were left in a trainer’s vehicle.
Fort Worth Police are investigating the incident now as a possible case of animal cruelty. They have not charged or cited anyone.
Reached at home Monday, the trainer who had the dogs that day, said she was not able to speak at length about what happened due to the investigation. However, she tearfully described it as an accident. An alert system set up to recognize any problems in the vehicle, registered an incident, but she said she never received an alert.
Kurtz and King both said Monday they still have questions about that system, and just how long the dogs had been in the vehicle.
Both the dogs were being trained as support animals for their owners. Alice’s owner struggles with PTSD, and King said Vinny, a Pomeranian, assisted her with depression and stress.
“I noticed the closer I got with Vinny, the more time I spent with him, the depression and anxiety jut came down and could handle things a lot better,” she said.
King said she knew the dogs were trained together, and driven all over the area being exposed to different everyday life scenarios, but she did not know if they were regularly kept in the vehicle alone.
The incident has prompted her to act, already starting a platform in her dog’s name, The Vinny King Foundation, to raise awareness of the issue. That, and asking extensive questions of anyone caring for an animal, will be the pillars of her effort she said.
“To spread awareness that it’s not ok to leave these guys in the car. It’s just not,” she said.