Published: Sep 30, 2013 2:04 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 30, 2013 6:53 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- A teacher from Gateway Charter High School faces animal cruelty charges after he allegedly kept a puppy in the trunk of his car during the school day on Friday.

Two students told the school resource officer they saw a man take a puppy out of the trunk of a Mercedes, walk it around, and put it back in the trunk around 11:00 a.m..

The officer determined the vehicle belonged to Mathew Emans, who was instructed to open the trunk. The puppy was still alive inside.

Emans allegedly told officers he was "only working a half day," and that the puppy was inside the trunk "only for a few hours."

Lee County Domestic Animal Services was called to the scene. Emans surrendered ownership of the puppy to LCDAS who transported it to the agency’s veterinary clinic for care. The puppy was panting heavily and in need of water.

An inferred thermometer registered the inside temperature of the vehicle at 152 degrees from the back window.

Animal cruelty is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Oakley, the 4-month-old Staffordshire Terrier puppy, is available for adoption. The shelter is taking applications. Interested adopters may complete an application online at, or come to the shelter at 5600 Banner Drive, Fort Myers, to submit an application.

Animal Services considers crimes of this nature to be particularly cruel and disturbing and will investigate any leads for ultimate prosecution. Anyone with information regarding animal abuse is asked to call Animal Services at 239-533-7387. To be eligible to receive a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.