Woman kept 14 cats, dog in hot U-Haul van in York County Walmart parking lot, deputies say


YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A woman faces multiple animal cruelty charges after York-Poquoson deputies found more than a dozen cats and a dog inside a parked U-Haul on a 90-degree day.

The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office says the U-Haul was found on July 3 in the parking lot of a Walmart in the 2600 block of Route 17 in York County. Deputies say a concerned citizen called after noticing the U-Haul had been in the parking lot for about an hour and a half after originally spotting it around 4:45 p.m. The temperature outside was still about 90 degrees at the time, deputies say.

Deputies responded and found the cats and dog inside the U-Haul, which had just one window cracked about 2 inches.

Deputies then broke the window of the van and pulled 14 cats and 1 dog out in total, with one cat being pronounced dead. The cats were in crates throughout the vehicle, with some roaming free, covered in feces and urine. There was also no food or water in the van, deputies say.

All of the animals were taken to an emergency veterinary clinic to be bathed and treated for dehydration, and one of the cats had to be euthanized due to being in such poor condition. The animals were then taken to the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter in Newport News.

Deputies eventually located the driver of the U-Haul, 48-year-old Wendy Lynn Diehl, who was charged with 14 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, 2 counts of felony animal cruelty and 15 counts of misdemeanor fail to provide for an animal.

No other details in the case are available at this time, but York County Animal Control is still investigating.


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