OTTUMWA, Iowa — A trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 21 for a dog handler accused of leaving four animals in a hot vehicle outside an Iowa dog show, killing three.

Police say two were found dead July 8 outside the American Kennel Club All Breeds Dog Show in Ottumwa. A third died at a veterinary clinic.

Court records say Craig Eugene told police his vehicle was running when he put the dogs inside but wasn’t running when he returned. The National Weather Service says the Ottumwa temperature peaked at 89 degrees (32 Celsius) that day.

The records say Eugene, who lives in Marengo, Illinois, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of animal cruelty.

Ottumwa is 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Des Moines.

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