Published: Jun 30, 2014 11:43 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 30, 2014 5:54 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Fort Myers Police rescued seven puppies and their mother from a locked U-haul truck yesterday around 7:15 p.m. Dustin Michael Unwin, 27, of Holiday, Florida, claimed ownership of the dogs while officers were on the scene and was arrested.

Police received a 911 call advising several dogs were locked in a non-running U-Haul truck and seemed to be in distress. The windows were rolled up and the owner had not been seen for about 45 minutes.

Once on scene at 2828 Jackson Street, an officer spotted a female pit bull standing on the vehicle seat panting. The officer also heard crying from multiple puppies somewhere inside the vehicle. She discovered the vehicle was unlocked and immediately entered it to rescue the distressed dogs.

Officers then located seven additional puppies inside a cardboard box on the passenger side floorboard. The puppies were all crying, panting and two were barely moving with light breathing. Lee County Emergency Medical Service along with Fort Myers Fire Department and Lee County Domestic Animal Services arrived on the scene.

While waiting for assistance, officers took the distressed puppies into their patrol vehicles hoping the cold air conditioning would assist in their recovery. Tenants at the apartment complex brought a large bowl of cold water to the officers, who began to bathe the puppies to bring their temperature down. Fort Myers Fire Department personnel began supplying oxygen to the puppies with a breathing mask to facilitate the recovery.

Unwin was arrested for animal cruelty. The 2-year old mother dog and seven 2-week old puppies were all turned over to an agent with LDAS.