Dog dies after being found unattended in hot car

SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake County Animal Services officials are reminding Utahns not to leave their dogs unattended in a hot car after Tuesday’s death.

Around 3:30 p.m., an animal control officer responded to a call for a dog in distress in a vehicle.

“When the officer arrived, the dog was already convulsing and was breathing very heavily and was convulsing,” said Randee Lueker of Salt Lake County Animal Services.

The officer pulled the dog out of an unlocked door and tried to cool him down and administer first aid, but the animal – which had been left in the car for over an hour – eventually stopped to breathe.

“Temperatures hit over 95 degrees here in Salt Lake City,” Lueker said.

Shortly after the dog, described as a Lab Shepherd mix, was pulled from the car, officials said the owner was found at a nearby business — about 700 S. 900 West — and cited for cruelty to animals.

“He was in a store, he forgot his dog,” Lueker said.

According to a Salt Lake County Animal Services press release Tuesday evening, “On average, Salt Lake County Animal Services animal control officers respond to approximately 500 calls per year for dogs left in hot cars. On a 70 degree day, the temperature in the car can soar to 116 degrees in just 10 minutes, causing a dog to suffer and die a painful death. »

Officials went on to say that dogs cannot shed heat from sweat like humans, which means their internal body temperature rises rapidly. This can cause them to get heat stroke and eventually die.

“Senior dogs, puppies and those with flatter faces suffer even more in hot weather,” the statement said.

“We implore everyone, please leave your dog at home, unless you can take him inside with you, unless you can keep him with you,” Lueker said. “Our rule of thumb is that if it’s over 70 degrees outside, never leave your dog in the car, no matter how long.”

what you should do

If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, here are the steps to follow:

  1. If you see a pet inside a vehicle that is excessively panting, unresponsive, drooling, or listless, call 911.
  2. Take a photo of the animal, the license plate and give this information to animal control officers.
  3. Ask nearby business managers to call the owner to return to their vehicle immediately. If the animal is not showing signs of distress, but you are concerned, you can stay close to the vehicle to monitor the situation until the owner returns.

What you should not do

  1. never break out a vehicle window to take a pet out on your own, you could be held liable for damages. In Utah, pets do not fall under the Good Samaritan law.
  2. Don’t leave the air conditioning on. Some people may leave a sign that says “air conditioning is on”. Your pet can still be in danger if the air conditioning stops working, this is not a guaranteed solution. It’s best to leave your pet at home where they can bask in a comfortable, cool place with plenty of water.

Signs of Pet Heat Stroke

  • Exaggerated panting (or sudden cessation of panting)
  • Rapid or irregular pulse
  • Salivation, anxious or fixed expression
  • Muscle weakness and tremors or lack of coordination
  • Convulsions or vomiting and collapse


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Jennifer R. Strohm