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Bluto's ordeal leads to owner's arrest

An Illinois woman was arrested Saturday after police said she left her dog locked in a U-Haul truck on the beach for more than four hours.

Summer Ann Gerber, 18, of Lake Bluff, Ill., was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty. She was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Saturday evening and released after posting $250 bail.

Clearwater police were summoned to 45 Causeway Blvd. on Clearwater Beach on Saturday after beachgoers noticed the dog locked in the U-Haul with the windows up. The dog, a 70-pound Rottweiler mix named Bluto, had no water in the truck, arrest reports state.

About 90 minutes after police were called, Gerber returned to the truck and was arrested. Police said the dog was inside the U-Haul for more than four hours. The temperature on Clearwater Beach on Saturday reached a high of 91 degrees.

The dog was taken into custody by Pinellas County Animal Services. He appeared to be okay Monday, said Dr. Kenny Mitchell, the animal services director. Mitchell said pet owners should not leave dogs in cars, particularly on hot days.

"You can't do that with dogs or people," he said.

Mitchell said animal services officials would evaluate whether the dog could be returned to Gerber if she requested. She had not asked for the dog back as of Monday, he said.