Zipper the dog staying at shelter until investigation complete

SEATTLE - Zipper the dog, who was rescued Sunday after spending up to six days trapped in a car in a West Seattle parking lot without food and water, is being held at the Seattle Animal Shelter until the shelter completes its investigation into why he was abandoned.

Meanwhile, the shelter reports that Zipper is "happy, energetic, (and) appears to be in good health," as he is cared for by animal care staff.

The shelter, which is leading the investigation, is trying to figure out how long the dog had been left alone without something to eat or drink.

Police were unable to find the car's owner because it had been recently sold, so they removed Zipper and handed him over to the Seattle Animal Shelter after the security guards at the QFC at Westwood Village gave him food and water.

Despite the dog's distress, the man responsible for caring for it hasn't been charged. Investigators say he's the owner's boyfriend, who was taking care of Zipper while the owner is away.

The dog's owner is still out of town and investigators have not talked to her yet, said Kara Main-Hester, the shelter's public information officer.

"We weren't willing to give the animal back to the owner until we had a better understanding of what the situation was," Main-Hester said.

Investigators will try to move quickly but it's unknown how long the animal cruelty investigation will take, Main-Hester said.

The pug-beagle mix was rescued early Sunday after spending up to six days trapped in a car in a West Seattle parking lot without food or water, according to the Seattle Police Department.

Security guards at the QFC noticed Zipper shaking and frightened in the back of a car around 1 a.m. on Sunday and called 911.

One guard told police he believed the car had been parked in the same spot for at least six days and wasn't sure how long the dog had been alone in the car.

Zipper survived the potentially deadly mix of sun and cars, but the responding officer noted she could even see his ribs.

"The dog appeared frightened and was shaken and appeared to be in distress," says Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt.

Don Baxter, manager of animal care and volunteer programs for the Seattle Animal Shelter, said it was a bad combination for the little dog.

"Even on a relatively cool day it can get deadly in there for them," he said.