It shouldn’t happen to any dog, let alone those who are serving and protecting their communities as K9 officers. Numerous police dogs lost their lives this summer not at the hands of criminals but at the hands of the very officers who were supposed to protect them—and instead left them to suffer from heatstroke inside hot patrol cars. PETA is aiming to make those brave K9 victims the last ones, with urgent pleas to police departments across the country asking them to install heat-alert systems in all K9 patrol cars.
Heat-alert systems monitor the temperature inside the vehicle and can sound an alarm, page an officer, start an engine, roll down a window and turn on a fan, or even open a door when the car gets too hot. A simple device such as this would have saved the lives of Sasha, a police dog in Warwick, Georgia; Harley from Des Moines, Iowa; Vegas and Hades of San Antonio, Texas; and the many other K9 officers who lost their lives just this past summer.
Many K9 officers now wear bulletproof vests to protect them from gunshots, but heatstroke may be an even more agonizing way to die. As the dogs’ internal temperature rises, they often begin to salivate heavily and lose control of their bladder and bowels, and shock may set in. They become terrified and often struggle to escape the vehicle, clawing the car windows and seats so violently that their paws become bloodied.
No dog should ever be left alone in a car on a warm day. But if a police officer decides to leave a K9 officer in the car to protect the dog from a potentially deadly situation, he or she needs to make sure that the car doesn’t become one, too.