Fourteen dogs have died in the back of a hot truck en route to an Indiana dog show, according to reports. A dog handler from Ohio was transporting the animals, 13 of whom were golden retrievers, across state lines to the show when tragedy struck. The handler allegedly plugged an extension cord into the truck to keep the air conditioning running as she took a nap in a hotel, but the power failed, killing the dogs inside.
As the deaths were deemed an accident, no charges will be filed against the truck’s driver. But this story should send a loud and clear message to dog guardians everywhere:
Hot Vehicles Are a Death Trap for Dogs!
As this story (and hundreds of others every year) goes to show, there’s no way to guarantee a dog’s safety in a parked car during hot weather—even if the vehicle is in the shade with the windows cracked or the air conditioning is running. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, interior temperatures can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Temperatures reportedly reached 86 degrees in the town where the dogs died that day.
— WTOL 11 (@WTOL11Toledo) July 25, 2016
If you see dogs showing any symptoms of heatstroke—including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, and lethargy—get them into the shade immediately. You can lower symptomatic dogs’ body temperature by providing them with water, applying a cold towel to their head and chest, or immersing them in tepid (not ice-cold) water. Then immediately rush them to a veterinarian.
What You Can Do
Never trust an extension cord or car battery to keep your dog safe from the heat. If you ever spot a dog unattended in a car, don’t assume that the animal is safe. Dogs can succumb to heatstroke in just 15 minutes.
If you see a dog in a hot car, call 911. While you’re waiting for the officer to arrive, take down the car’s make, model, and license plate and try to have the owner paged inside any nearby stores. Do not leave until someone arrives on the scene and you know the dog is safe. If all else fails, do what’s necessary to save the animal’s life.
PETA has resources to help you spread this important message. Share this story with your friends, family, and social media followers to let them know how deadly hot cars can be. And be sure to check out this lifesaving PSA that warns of the dangers dogs face when temperatures rise: