Puppies found in trunk of car parked at Phoenix mall; man arrested

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Daniel Suarez Lujan By Jennifer Thomas Daniel Suarez Lujan By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police officers arrested a 34-year-old man on animal cruelty charges after several puppies were found locked inside the trunk of a parked car Saturday afternoon.

People in the parking lot at Desert Sky Mall near 75th Avenue and Thomas Road told a security officer that they could hear what sounded like an animal crying from the trunk of a car.

An off-duty Phoenix police officer working security for the mall came to assist and heard yelping from the trunk of a four-door Honda. The officer contacted the Arizona Humane Society.

While waiting for assistance to arrive to help open the trunk's lock, a man walked out of the mall toward the car and deactivated the alarm, which had been activated as the officer attempted to find a way to get to the animals.

The man, identified as Daniel Suarez Lujan, reportedly told the officer that his cousin left some puppies in the car. The officer had the man open the trunk and found a metal cage containing six very small puppies. They were not moving and were sprawled across the bottom of the cage.

Detective James Holmes with the Phoenix Police Department said two of the puppies began yelping and all were wet though there was no water or food in the trunk. Officers immediately took the puppies inside the mall and gave them water.

Police were able to determine that the animals had been inside the trunk of the car for about one hour. The outside temperature was in the 80s.

Arizona Humane Society field officers arrived and took the puppies to their facility where veterinarians were standing by to treat them.

Kimberly Searles with the Arizona Humane Society said the Australian Shepherd mix puppies are 3 to 4 weeks old and are in fairly good condition. The puppies will be placed into foster care for a couple of weeks.

Lujan was arrested and booked into jail on charges of cruelty to animals.

The Phoenix Police Department reminds everyone that warmer weather is here and animals should not be left alone in cars with no water or ventilation.