60 Animal Companions Endured Heat-Related Deaths In 2018 … That We Know Of

The number of dogs and other animal companions who reportedly died from heat-related causes in 2018:

60

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Every year, PETA receives reports about dogs, cats, and other animals who have died after being left in hot cars or outside during the hot weather. In 2018 alone, sixty animals endured heat–related deaths and another 93 were rescued from the heat—and those are just the ones that were reported. Most almost certainly aren’t.

YearDeathsDeathsRescuesRescues
202151See the list.143See the list.
202031See the list.50See the list.
201953See the list.125See the list.
201860See the list.93See the list.



The following list is a compilation of heat-related animal companion deaths reported in 2018:

Date of DeathLocationNumber of Dogs or Other Animals Who DiedNotes
10/2/2018Newnan, Georgia1A man tied his dog up outside while he went to a coffee shop. The animal died in the heat.
9/15/2018Murfreesboro, Tennessee1A dog who was tied up outside in the heat with no food or water died.
9/15/2018Phoenix, Arizona1A dog who had been left by a man outside without shade or water died.
8/19–25/2018Fredericksburg, Texas3Three dogs died of heatstroke in one week at a park.
8/20/2018Georgetown, Texas1A woman left her dog in her car after she went to work. The animal was taken to a vet but had to be euthanized after suffering from heatstroke.
8/5/2018Shorewood, Illinois1Two dogs were left inside a hot car in a parking lot. One of them didn’t survive.
Aug-18Toronto, Canada1A dog walker left a dog named Teddy inside a car on a hot day. He later died.
7/29/2018Hancock County, West Virginia1A K9 was left inside a car with the air conditioning on, but then the vehicle shut off and he died.
7/28/2018Columbia, South Carolina1A K9 named Turbo sustained heat-related injuries. Two days later, he died as a result.
7/23/2018Victoria, British Columbia, Canada1A dog who was left inside a hot car for seven hours was found dead by her owner. It was 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) that day.
7/20/2018Las Vegas, Nevada1A woman left her two dogs with a man who said that he’d look after them. He left the dogs in his van for 90 minutes while he was meeting with a client, and one of them died. When the dog arrived at a veterinary office, his temperature was 107 degrees.
7/18/2018Great Barrington, Massachusetts2A woman left two dogs in a car on a hot day, possibly for as long as 11 hours. She brought her unresponsive French bulldog to a vet, who examined the dog and told police that the animal had been dead for four to six hours. Vet staff said that the woman had told them she had a second dog who also died, but she wouldn’t say where that animal was.
7/13/2018Pauls Valley, Oklahoma1A woman’s canine companion fell asleep in the back seat of her vehicle. She left, unknowingly leaving the dog inside. When she returned later, she discovered that the animal had died.
7/11/2018Durham, North Carolina1A police officer left his K9, Max, in the car after doing training exercises with him. The vehicle had safety measures to prevent the dog from overheating, but they failed. Max died.
7/11/2018Morgantown, West Virginia1Hospital security discovered a dog in a hot car in the parking lot but claimed that the animal did not appear to be in distress. So police weren’t alerted. The dog was later discovered dead.
7/10/2018Brockton, Massachusetts1A dog who was put inside a carrier and then left outside a humane society died.
7/8/2018Omaha, Nebraska1A dog was put inside a plastic crate and then left in a car for three hours. Even with the air conditioning on, the animal died.
7/6/2018Huron Charter Township, Michigan1A dog was left in a hot car overnight and died.
7/4/2018Trussville, Alabama1A dog was left inside a hot car for seven hours. He was rescued but later died.
7/4/2018Ashland, Massachusetts1A dog was left inside a hot car while his owner assaulted a group of people. The animal died.
7/3/2018Long Island, New York3Six dogs were locked inside cages in a car for more than 11 hours. Three of them died.
7/3/2018Juneau, Alaska1A dog was left inside a hot car and died.
7/2/2018Cumberland County, Pennsylvania1A dog was found dead outside his house in excessive heat.
Jul-18Indio, California1A woman left for work and forgot to let her dog back indoors. The animal died in the heat.
Jul-18Hinds County, Mississippi1A K9 was left inside a running car while his handler went to eat, but the vehicle shut off and the dog died.
7/1/2018Toms River, New Jersey1A dog was left outside on a fire escape in 99-degree heat. Neighbors found her unconscious. Police rushed her to the vet, but she died.
6/30/2018Toledo, Ohio1A pit bull died of heatstroke after being left tied to a tree in the heat with no shelter or water.
6/30/2018Valparaiso, Indiana1A dog was left outside in the heat with no shade and died.
6/29/2018Niles, Ohio1A dog was left chained outside and died in the heat.
6/26/2018Detroit, Michigan1A dog named Vito was left inside a car that initially was running while his handlers went to get a different vehicle. While they were gone (for about 40 minutes), the car shut off and the dog suffered from heatstroke. He died the next day from cardiac arrest.
6/22/2018Wilmington, North Carolina1A man who died of an overdose was found inside his truck with his deceased dog next to him. Police believe the animal died from heat exposure.
6/22/2018Phoenix, Arizona1A dog who was left chained outside died from the heat.
6/21/2018Sebastian, Florida1A man went inside a bar for approximately 3.5 hours, leaving his dog inside his car. Patrons who learned of the animal’s plight took the dog into an air-conditioned restroom, but the animal later died. The man was charged.
6/21/2018Chattanooga, Tennessee1A family from Florida claimed that they had left their dog in a car for “only” 20 minutes. The animal died of heatstroke.
6/19/2018Danville, Virginia1A pit bull who had a 107-degree temperature after being left in the sun was taken to a vet. He later died of heatstroke.
6/16/2018Lexington, Kentucky1A dog left at a boarding facility died from heatstroke.
6/16/2018Kansas City, Missouri1A dog who had been forgotten outside a boarding facility was unable to find shade and died.
6/13/2018Geneva, New York1A man left his dog inside a 110-degree car. The animal died from heat exposure, and the man was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to an animal.
6/8/2018Panama City, Florida2A man left three dogs in a hot van while he went out to drink. Two of them died.
6/5/2018Bossier City, Louisiana3A woman went to a doctor’s appointment, leaving her three dogs inside her car. They died of heat exhaustion.
6/4/2018Tyler, Texas1A kitten left inside a hot car died.
5/29/2018Des Moines, Iowa1A dog was left outside for hours. By the time police arrived, the animal was dead.
5/27/2018Hutchinson, Kansas1A resident called 911 about a dog who was roaming around the neighborhood. The dog was then put in an animal control van and forgotten over the Memorial Day weekend. The animal was later discovered dead, probably from heatstroke.
5/23/2018Gwinnett County, Georgia1A dog who had been left by a woman inside a car for five hours died.
5/22/2018Ellisville, Missouri1Thirteen dogs were found locked inside a hot car. One of them died.
5/11/2018Camden County, Georgia1A dog was left inside a car in 91-degree heat while his owner went to get a shot at the hospital. A passerby called 911 after she saw the animal. The dog was rescued from the car, but it was too late—the pup didn’t survive.
4/11/2018Albuquerque, New Mexico6At 9:30 a.m., a woman left six dogs inside a car. Police arrived at 4 p.m. to find them all dead.


The following list is a compilation of heat-related animal companion rescues reported in 2018:

Date LocationRescue DetailsNumber of Dogs or Other Animals RescuedNotes
9/28/2018Merritt Island, FloridaA couple who was walking through a Walmart parking lot spotted a puppy who’d been left inside a hot car. They had a store employee call 911 and then went back to the vehicle and freed the animal. They later adopted her.1
9/15/2018Ottawa, OntarioMultiple good Samaritans called authorities after spotting various companion animals left in hot cars.8On an unseasonably warm Saturday, police received eight calls about companion animals who had been left in vehicles.
9/5/2018St. Louis, MissouriA dog was locked inside a hot car for at least two hours.1The Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task Force and the St. Louis Fire Department rescued the dog.
9/5/2018Liberty, OhioOfficers discovered a black dog inside a locked Jeep parked on the roadway with no license plate.1The Jeep’s windows were open about 2 inches. The dog had no food or water and was panting heavily. Police were unsure who owned the car and were unable to file charges.
9/3/2018Secaucus, New JerseyCustomers at a retail store called police after spotting a dog trapped inside a hot car.1It was 90 degrees outside. The dog was crying and panting, the windows were rolled all the way up, and there was no water in the vehicle. The owner was arrested, issued a summons, and then released. Animal control took the dog into custody.
8/31/2018Michigan City, IndianaA passerby noticed a dog in a hot car and called animal control.1The dog was reportedly inside the vehicle for more than an hour. Upon arriving, the officer met the good Samaritan and noticed that the animal was panting and had little ventilation inside the car, which was parked in direct sunlight. The windows were open about half an inch. Animal control received permission from police to force entry into the vehicle. The owner was cited for neglect.
8/30/2018Sagamore Hills Township, OhioA passerby noticed a puppy inside a locked vehicle and called police.1The puppy was left inside a cage under a blanket in a vehicle during 90-degree heat. The animal’s owner was cited, and the dog was removed from the person’s custody.
8/29/2018Vaughan, OntarioPolice received a call about a dog in a parked car.1Police sent out a tweet criticizing someone for leaving a dog in a parked car. A heat warning was in effect.
8/29/2018Norwalk, ConnecticutA passerby saw a dog in a hot vehicle and called police.1The dog was panting heavily when animal control arrived. Right before a window was going to be broken, the dog’s owner returned from a store, claiming to have been gone for only a few minutes. The interior of the car was later determined to have been 104 degrees, and the dog was trapped inside for nearly 30 minutes before being rescued. The owner was charged with cruelty to animals.
8/29/2018Annandale, VirginiaA witness reported that a dog was alone in the back of a pickup truck without water.1The dog was exposed to full sunlight, and a heat advisory was in effect. The county’s Animal Protection Police watched the animal for more than an hour and then police took the dog into custody. The owner was issued a summons for cruelty to animals.
8/28/2018Springfield, MassachusettsA witness noticed a dog trapped inside a hot car and called police.1The outside temperature at the time was 90 degrees. The dog had been left in the car for about 45 minutes.
8/27/2018Hunter, New YorkPolice responded to a call from someone who saw a dog in a truck and said that the animal was in distress. The dog was in direct sunlight with no access to fresh air.1The dog was in the truck for at least an hour. A man was ticketed for confinement of an animal to a hot vehicle under the state’s Agriculture and Markets Law.
8/27/2018Canton, OhioA visitor to a hospital noticed a dog alone in a car and called security.1The dog’s core body temperature registered at 110 degrees. The animal remained unconscious for about 36 hours but later recovered. The owner was charged with cruelty to animals.
8/24/2018Oakton, VirginiaSecurity guards at a high school discovered a dog inside a parked truck.1The dog’s owner was issued a summons for inadequate care of an animal.
8/22/2018Wareham, MassachusettsA passerby called police about 40 minutes after spotting two dogs trapped inside an SUV.2The windows of the SUV were open about 2 inches. The surface temperature of the dogs registered between 100 and 101 degrees. The animals’ owner was cited.
8/21/2018Sacramento, CaliforniaThe fire department freed a dog trapped inside a hot car.1The temperature in the car reached 114 degrees. The dog’s owner said that the window was rolled down.
8/21/2018Marysville, WashingtonAfter discovering a dog locked inside a van on a hot summer day, police took to Twitter asking, “Is this your dog? Is this your window?”1The interior temperature of the van was 103 degrees. Officers waited 90 minutes for someone to return before breaking a window to rescue the dog.
8/14/2018Norfolk, VirginiaA passerby spotted a dog in a hot car and called local animal control.1The windows of the car were slightly open, and firefighters were able to open a door and get the dog out. The interior of the car was 120 degrees.
8/14/2018Williamsburg, VirginiaPolice rescued a dog from a hot car in the middle of a sweltering day.1A teen was taken to a juvenile detention facility and charged with cruelty to an animal.
8/9/2018Macon, GeorgiaA passerby noticed puppies in a hot car and called animal control.6Several of the puppies were unconscious from heat exhaustion. They were panting, dehydrated, and in desperate need of emergency care.
8/9/2018Orlando, FloridaA man wanted in connection with multiple burglaries left a dog inside a vehicle for 15 hours.1The dog was rescued a day after deputies first noticed the animal in the unlocked car.
8/3/2018Hamilton, OntarioA good Samaritan called police after spotting a large dog inside a car, panting heavily and showing signs of distress.1The dog was given water through a slightly open window. The owner returned from a nearby store and faced charges under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
8/1/2018Pensacola, FloridaA passerby spotted a dog inside a hot car and called police.1The car’s windows were slightly open, and a group of people were squirting water onto the dog. The owners said that they left to shower and get the dog water, although neither of them had water with them. Animal control took the dog into custody.
7/31/2018Las Vegas, NevadaA woman noticed two dogs in a hot car, called police, and took a video of the incident.2The dogs were panting and had no water. One window was slightly open, but the outside temperature was 103 degrees. The police waited an hour and a half before calling animal control to free the dogs from the car.
7/13/2018Niagara Falls, New YorkA puppy was left in a hot car.1Temperatures were high, and the puppy was lying on the floor of the car, panting heavily. The animal’s owner was charged.
7/12/2018Sandy Springs, GeorgiaA passerby contacted police after noticing a dog in a van on a hot day.1The outside temperature was 95 degrees, and the dog was in the van for at least two hours. Animal control broke into the vehicle and rescued the animal. The owner was cited.
7/12/2018Fairfield, OhioA passerby noticed a dog in a hot car and manipulated the car window to get her out.1No charges were filed. The owners were upset that someone “had” their dog and claimed that they’d left a window slightly open and given the animal some water.
7/8/2018Auburn, MaineA dog was left inside a hot car parked outside a Walmart overnight after the owner was arrested. The animal was eventually spotted by a passerby and rescued by police.1
7/5/2018Halifax, Nova ScotiaBystanders called police after they heard a dog whimpering in a hot car.1The animal was in a small travel carrier, which had little ventilation. The dog’s owner was fined $700.
7/5/2018Bay Roberts, NewfoundlandA concerned citizen called police to report that a dog had been inside a vehicle for 20 to 30 minutes. The windows were slightly open, but there was little airflow and no water for the animal.1The dog’s owner was ticketed under the Animal Health and Protection Act.
7/5/2018Victoria, British ColumbiaTwo dogs were trapped inside a hot vehicle, both in great distress. One had defecated in the car. Animal control determined that it was 100 degrees in the vehicle.2The dogs’ owner was fined.
7/5/2018Townshend, VermontA good Samaritan called police to report that a dog had been left in a car with all the windows rolled up on a hot day.1The dog was rescued, and police discovered that the vehicle had been stolen.
7/4/2018Manchester, ConnecticutTwo passersby called police after noticing a dog in a car with the windows rolled up.1Officers were able to open the door and rescue the dog, who was panting heavily and threw up in the back of the police cruiser. The animal’s owner was arrested and released on $2,500 bond.
7/2/2018Chatham-Kent, OntarioA dog was left unattended in a hot car.1The dog’s owner was fined C$365.
6/30/2018Toledo, OhioTwo dogs were found tied up outside in the heat without shelter. One survived, but the other did not.1
6/27/2018Lincoln, NebraskaA dog was left inside a hot car parked outside a Walmart. The animal was spotted by a passerby and let out of the vehicle but ran away before animal control arrived. The heat index was 105 degrees.1
6/26/2018Nye County, NevadaIn separate incidents, two dogs were left inside hot cars parked outside a Walmart. Their owners were not cited.2
6/12/2018Las Vegas, NevadaA man at a gym saw a dog in a car and logged onto Facebook Live to vent and ask his friends for advice. He called police twice and finally broke the car window after waiting for about 20 minutes.1The owner eventually came out of the gym but drove off with the dog before police showed up.
6/11/2018Wichita, KansasPolice broke a car window to free a dog who had been trapped inside for more than an hour.1The dog’s owner was charged with misdemeanor animal negligence.
6/8/2018Colorado Springs, ColoradoA good Samaritan called the fire department after spotting a dog in a hot car.1The driver returned to the vehicle as firefighters arrived. The driver was issued a warning.
6/6/2018Orange County, CaliforniaA passerby noticed a pig locked inside a car on a hot day.1The pig’s owner was located, and the animal was rescued from the hot vehicle.
6/2/2018Omaha, NebraskaA passerby called police after spotting a dog and two young boys in a hot car.1A man left his 4- and 5-year-old sons alone in a car with their dog for more than six hours while he went into a bar and left to be with a woman he had met there. The local humane society was called to take the dog.
5/31/2018Glasgow, KentuckyAfter a good Samaritan called police, officers used a mechanical device to free three dogs from a vehicle.3The internal temperature of the vehicle was 114 degrees. Police said that the dogs were panting and did not have access to water. The owners were cited for cruelty to animals.
5/28/2018Brooklyn, New YorkA passerby saw two dogs in a car and called 911. Police administered oxygen before rushing them to a local animal hospital.2The owner said that he had gotten drunk and forgot about the dogs. He was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, neglect of an impounded animal, and leaving an animal in a vehicle in extreme heat.
5/26/2018Vestal, New YorkA dog was left in a car parked outside a Walmart when it was 88 degrees outside. Police didn’t file charges, claiming that there was enough air for the animal since the sunroof was open.1
5/26/2018Oxford, OhioA passerby noticed a dog trapped inside a car on a hot day.1The woman who spotted the dog was able to reach her arm through an open car window and unlock the vehicle, and the animal was turned over to animal control officers. The owner said that she had forgotten that the dog was in the car. She was charged with cruelty to an animal.
5/25/2018Xenia, OhioA passerby called 911 after noticing a dog in a car.1The windows were rolled up, and the temperature in the vehicle had reached 105 degrees. The dog’s owner was given a warning.
5/22/2018Ellisville, MissouriNearby employees noticed 12 dogs in a car and called police. The employees got the animals out and poured water on them to help cool them off before police arrived.12A couple is facing cruelty charges. All the dogs showed signs of brain damage.
5/19/2018Navarre, FloridaNeighbors spotted a dog panting and shaking uncontrollably inside a car and called police.1A man is facing cruelty-to-animals charges after he left his dog in a car while he went for a swim at a beach.
5/14/2018Escambia County, FloridaA deputy broke a car window to help a puppy in need.1The dog’s owner was arrested. The puppy was squealing, panting heavily, and in distress. The outside temperature was reportedly 92 degrees.
5/14/2018Medford, OregonA speeding driver was pulled over, and 10 puppies were discovered in the car’s hot trunk.10The puppies were panting heavily and didn’t have access to water or fresh air. The day reached a record temperature of 88 degrees.
5/8/2018Santa Clarita, CaliforniaA police officer broke a car window to save a dog who was trapped inside a vehicle parked outside a Walmart. It was 90 degrees outside.1
5/7/2018Sterling, VirginiaPolice and animal services staff were able to get into a car to access a dog in need of help.1The temperature inside the car was 127 degrees. The dog’s owner was reportedly shopping.
4/23/2018Fresno, CaliforniaA good Samaritan broke a truck’s window with a brick in order to rescue a dog in need.1The dog’s owner was arrested on felony cruelty-to-animals charges.

No animal should endure a heat-related death. It’s inexcusable.

As guardians, we must take these vital steps in order to protect our beloved family members:

1. Keep dogs and cats indoors.

Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, which makes it extra hard for them to beat the heat. Being left outside in hot weather can cause heat stress, injury, or death.

2. Never leave your dog—or any other animal—in a hot car.

It’s like being baked alive. Heatstroke can happen in just minutes, even with the car’s windows partially rolled down. And opening a window slightly won’t help—parking in the shade or leaving water in the vehicle won’t prevent your dog from overheating, either.

3. If you see a dog in a hot car …

… call 911 immediately. While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, write down the car’s make, model, and license plate number, or take a picture of the vehicle and go to the nearest building to find a manager and ask that the owner of the car be paged. If authorities are unresponsive or too slow to respond and the animal’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness who will back up your assessment before carefully removing the animal from the car and carrying him or her into the shade. PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help with intervening in these life-or-death situations. Don’t leave until the authorities arrive on the scene and you know that the dog is safe. Learn more about what to do if you see a dog in a hot car.

4. Recognize the symptoms of heatstroke, and take action if you see them.

Heatstroke is a potentially fatal emergency. Symptoms include restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, and lack of appetite or coordination. If a dog is exhibiting these signs, attempt to lower the body temperature by providing the animal with water and applying a cold towel to the head and chest. If someone is with you, one of you should take these steps in the car as the other drives the dog to a veterinarian.

5. Be mindful when walking a dog in hot weather.

On a hot day, the pavement on sidewalks can reach temperatures between 130 and 180 degrees, which is hot enough to hurt your dog’s feet and even seriously burn them. Here are some helpful tips when walking your companion in the heat:

  • Always test the pavement with the palm of your hand before setting out—if it feels hot, it’s too hot for Spot.
  • Walk early in the morning or late in the evening, when it’s cooler.
  • Choose shady routes.
  • Carry water, and take frequent breaks.
  • Never make dogs wear muzzles or halters that restrict their breathing.
  • Opt for a lightweight fabric collar or a nifty Swamp Cooler vest.
  • Walk—don’t run. Dogs will run to the point of collapse just to please you. At that point, it may be too late to save them.

Together, we can help drastically reduce the number of dogs and other animal companions who die in hot weather and even eliminate these tragedies altogether. Animals are counting on us—as their guardians and as good Samaritans—to keep them safe. We mustn’t let them down.

Take Action Now

The Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats (HOT CARS) Act of 2017 aims to minimize the number of children and animals who die in hot cars every year by requiring that automakers equip all vehicles with technology that alerts drivers when a passenger remains in the backseat after the engine has been turned off. Sadly, since the bill was introduced, more deaths have occurred—and there will certainly be more in the months ahead. But we can prevent tragedies like these. Click below to help:

Make sure that all your friends and family know the potentially lifesaving hot weather tips above.

Watch this video, listen to this radio clip, and check out this ad to learn more about the reasons why you should never leave a dog in a hot car.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind