Extradition Requested For Puerto Rico Man Who Abandoned Four Puppies In Car At Disney Springs

Legal documents filed Tuesday reveal that a Puerto Rico resident has been charged with animal cruelty for leaving four Bernedoodle puppies in a sweltering car in Disney Springs, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

What’s Happening:

  • Wilson Nieves Cortes, 39, a resident of Puerto Rico, has been charged with animal cruelty after leaving four Bernedoodle puppies in a sweltering car in Disney Springs while he reportedly went for “take-out” for his family, according to legal documents.
  • Cortes reportedly told investigators that he went to Disney Springs on May 4th, after meeting with a breeder from Ohio who had driven to Orlando with the dogs.
  • Though he reportedly told investigators that he thought he’d been gone only 20 minutes, data gathered as part of the investigation shows he did not return for more than two hours.
  • An eight-page affidavit reveals efforts by firefighters and paramedics with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and Veterinarians from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to rescue and revive the puppies. Of the four in the car, one died of apparent heat stroke.
  • Cortes parked in one of the garages of Disney Springs, saying he parked there because it was shaded and he left the windows cracked open for ventilation. He left the puppies in a collapsible carrier in the SUV, where all but one of the dogs apparently climbed out. It was a security officer on a routine patrol in the garage that discovered the dogs which he had heard barking.
  • Cortes also said he made the stop at Disney Springs to get food to go for his wife and two sons before leaving with his family and collection of three-month old pups back to Puerto Rico, where he intended to train them as emotional support animals. Unfortunately, Cortes explained that he didn’t realize the complex was filled with mostly sit-down eateries. He said he entered Blaze, a quick-service pizza location, but left after deciding the line was not moving fast enough.
  • In the garage, firefighters and paramedics used a divide to open the front passenger door of the vehicle and immediately treated the puppies with water and cooling packs. Firefighters adopted all of the puppies, aside from the fourth one who didn’t make it. Paramedics measured her heart rate at 300 beats per minute, about double the normal rate. The report also indicated that the puppy was “extremely hot to the touch.” The puppy was later euthanized.
  • By the time Cortes returned to the car, all the dogs had been found and removed.
  • Orange County deputy Matthew Thorne said in the affidavit that he had found probable cause to charge Cortes with animal cruelty for leaving the puppies unattended in the hot vehicle, alleging the deceased pup “died a cruel and painful death.” Thorne asked for a warrant to extradite Cortes from Puerto Rico.
  • Under the statute cited in the affidavit, animal cruelty is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Tony Betti
Originally from California where he studied a dying artform (hand-drawn animation), Tony has spent most of his adult life in the theme parks of Orlando. When he’s not writing for LP, he’s usually watching and studying something animated or arguing about “the good ole’ days” at the parks.