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Police: Nine Dogs Found Dead Inside Doctor’s SUV

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A Charleston doctor has been charged with several counts of ill treatment to animals after police say he left nine dogs in his vehicle for several hours as he performed his duties at East Cooper Hospital as all of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels died in the 91-degree heat index. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

A Charleston doctor has been charged with several counts of ill treatment to animals after police say he left nine dogs in his vehicle for several hours as he performed his duties at East Cooper Hospital as all of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels died in the 91-degree heat index. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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Mount Pleasant, S.C. (CBS CHARLOTTE) – A Charleston gastroenterology doctor has been charged with several counts of ill treatment to animals after police say he left nine dogs in his vehicle for several hours as he performed his duties at East Cooper Hospital as all of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels died in the 91-degree heat index.

Charles A. Bickerstaff, 64, is facing nine counts of ill treatment of animals after Mount Pleasant Police say he left the nine dogs in six carriers in his SUV as he worked at the hospital, WCBD-TV reports. An Aug. 12 affidavit alleges that Bickerstaff went to the Mount Pleasant Emergency Vet with several dead animals that had been in the back of his vehicle.

The emergency vet clinic staff said the dogs died as a result of ill treatment and directed Bickerstaff to a local crematory before calling police. Detectives used employment records at ECMC to identify Bickerstaff as the man responsible for the animals’ deaths.

The affidavit says that temperatures ranged from 73 to 82 degrees during the three hours the animals were in the vehicle, while the heat index was 90.9 degrees.

Bickerstaff told police that he placed his dog, Butler, and eight other dogs in crates in the back of his vehicle, according to the affidavit. There was no food or water present in the vehicle.

Bickerstaff is expected to have a bond hearing on Wednesday morning.

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