A woman is facing more than a dozen animal cruelty charges after deputies found 14 cats and one dog in a U-Haul truck outside a Walmart in York County.
Capt. Troy Lyons, spokesman with the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office said a passerby saw the U-Haul at approximately 4:45 p.m. at the Walmart near Route 17 on last Friday.
The passerby saw the same van two hours later with several animals inside that appeared “distressed” and called 911, Lyons said.
Deputies responded around 7:15 p.m. but were unable to open the van, so they broke a window, he added.
Inside, the deputies found 14 cats and one dog covered in feces and urine. Some were roaming around the van or were in crates, with no food or water, Lyons said.
“It was about 90 degrees outside,” he said.
One of the cats was found dead and the rest of the animals were sent to an emergency clinic to be cleaned. Another cat was euthanized at the clinic “because it was in such poor health,” Lyons said.
The remaining animals were sent to York County Animal Control and transferred to Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter.
Deputies charged the driver of the U-Haul, Wendy Lynn Diehl, 48, with two felony counts of animal cruelty, 14 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and 15 counts of misdemeanor failing to provide for an animal.
Diehl, whose last known address was in Newport News, is currently at Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.
Animal control is handling the investigation which is still ongoing.
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