Police say 14 dogs died after air conditioning failed in the truck they were housed in for a dog show in northern Indiana.
St. Joseph County police Lt. William Redman says the dogs were found Friday evening outside a hotel in Roseland, just north of South Bend. He says the truck had air conditioning in the cargo area, but an electrical circuit breaker cut the power. Redman says authorities don’t know what triggered the circuit breaker.
According to the South Bend Tribune, the truck’s cooling unit was getting power from an extension cord plugged into the side of a hotel.
The high was just 86 degrees in South Bend on Friday ~ nine degrees cooler than the high in Savannah.
Police say the truck belonged to Cortney Corral-Morris, the owner of Lakesyde Kennels and Handling of Wellington, Ohio. Authorities say six of the Golden Retrievers that died inside the overheated box-truck belonged to Ms. Corral-Morris, and one animal belonged to her assistant. The other dogs belonged to owners living in Ohio and Missouri.
The handler says she fed, watered and exercised the 14 animals Friday afternoon. She then went inside the hotel to take a nap for two hours after locking the dogs inside the air-conditioned truck. When she returned at around 6pm to check on the dogs, she found that all the dogs had died.
The executive director of the South Bend Humane Society says Ms. Corral-Morris is besides herself and is heartbroken.
‘She is besides herself,’ Ms Carlson said of Corral-Morris. ‘She is heartbroken.’
The Humane Society is investigating the deaths.
Experts say ‘just a minute’ in a hot car can be deadly for animals.
Veterinarians say dogs don’t have sweat glands all over their bodies like humans do, so the main way they can cool off is by panting, which isn’t very efficient. Once a dog’s body temp is higher than 106 (normal temp is 101) the result is everything from nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, systemic organ failure, and it happens fast.
So what should you do if you see a dog suffering in a hot car? Your immediate response should be to try and alert the owner, and hopefully they’ll be nearby to quickly resolve the situation. However, things become a little trickier if you can’t track them down. Many people will suggest breaking into the car to free the dog, and that seems a perfectly reasonable thing to think. However, this could be classed as criminal damage unless the owner deems it necessary under the circumstances.
Although many people would probably rather face the consequences than see a dog die, that’s a decision you’d have to make at the time and be aware of the potential repurcussions. A far better option is to call the police.
(sources: South Bend Tribune, The Weather Channel, NBC News)