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Man Accused of Leaving Dogs in Car During Subzero Temperatures

By Emily Morris | January 12, 2014 3:25pm
 Manuel Gaitan, 46, is accused of leaving two dogs in a car for days during frigid temperatures.
Manuel Gaitan, 46, is accused of leaving two dogs in a car for days during frigid temperatures.
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Cook County Sheriff's Office

COOK COUNTY CRMINAL COURTHOUSE — Prosecutors said a man left his two dogs outside in his SUV during the worst of last week's subzero temperatures.

Manuel Gaitan, 46, was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals after he left the pets outside for four days without food or water in West Garfield Park, prosecutors said. He was also ticketed for failing to provide proof of licenses for the dogs or proof of rabies vaccinations.

On Jan. 6, an officer in the 4200 block of West Arthington Street noticed an abandoned, snow-covered SUV and heard two dogs coming from the car, Assistant State's Attorney Katherine Fox said.

A record-low temperature of 16 degrees below zero was recorded at O'Hare Airport that day.

Upon further investigation, officers determined that Gaitan, who lives out of his car with the dogs, hadn't been seen in a few days, according to Fox.

The officer also later determined that for days, the snow covering the car hadn't been disturbed, indicating that no one had entered the car to feed the dogs or give them water, Fox said.

On Jan. 9, the officer got into the car and saw two dogs had defecated inside, Fox said. They appeared hungry and thirsty, and one had a sore on its nose.

The dogs, a 3-year-old female and a 4-year-old male, were brought to Animal Care and Control, according to Fox and a police arrest report.

Gaitan was arrested on Saturday in the same block where his SUV was parked, according to an arrest report.

The alleged incident happened during the same period Animal Care and Control said it received an increase in calls about inhumane treatment of animals, most of which were weather-related.

Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered Gaitan held on $40,000 bail Sunday.