60 Companion Animals Endured Heat-Related Deaths in 2018—That We Know Of

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


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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.

Year Deaths Deaths Rescues Rescues
2023 162 See the list. 854 See the list.
2022 58 See the list. 490 See the list.
2021 60 See the list. 145 See the list.
2020 32 See the list. 50 See the list.
2019 53 See the list. 125 See the list.
2018 60 See the list. 93 See the list.

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

Date of Death Location Number of Dogs or Other Animals Who Died Notes
10/2/2018 Newnan, Georgia 1 A man tied his dog up outside while he went to a coffee shop. The animal died in the heat.
9/15/2018 Murfreesboro, Tennessee 1 A dog who was tied up outside in the heat with no food or water died.
9/15/2018 Phoenix, Arizona 1 A dog who had been left by a man outside without shade or water died.
8/19–25/2018 Fredericksburg, Texas 3 Three dogs died of heatstroke in one week at a park.
8/20/2018 Georgetown, Texas 1 A 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.
8/5/2018 Shorewood, Illinois 1 Two dogs were left inside a hot car in a parking lot. One of them didn’t survive.
8/2018 Toronto, Canada 1 A dog walker left a dog named Teddy inside a car on a hot day. He later died.
7/29/2018 Hancock County, West Virginia 1 A K9 was left inside a car with the air conditioning on, but then the vehicle shut off and he died.
7/28/2018 Columbia, South Carolina 1 A K9 named Turbo sustained heat-related injuries. Two days later, he died as a result.
7/23/2018 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 1 A 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.
7/20/2018 Las Vegas, Nevada 1 A 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.
7/18/2018 Great Barrington, Massachusetts 2 A 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.
7/13/2018 Pauls Valley, Oklahoma 1 A 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.
7/11/2018 Durham, North Carolina 1 A 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.
7/11/2018 Morgantown, West Virginia 1 Hospital 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.
7/10/2018 Brockton, Massachusetts 1 A dog who was put inside a carrier and then left outside a humane society died.
7/8/2018 Omaha, Nebraska 1 A 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.
7/6/2018 Huron Charter Township, Michigan 1 A dog was left in a hot car overnight and died.
7/4/2018 Trussville, Alabama 1 A dog was left inside a hot car for seven hours. He was rescued but later died.
7/4/2018 Ashland, Massachusetts 1 A dog was left inside a hot car while his owner assaulted a group of people. The animal died.
7/3/2018 Long Island, New York 3 Six dogs were locked inside cages in a car for more than 11 hours. Three of them died.
7/3/2018 Juneau, Alaska 1 A dog was left inside a hot car and died.
7/2/2018 Cumberland County, Pennsylvania 1 A dog was found dead outside his house in excessive heat.
7/2018 Indio, California 1 A woman left for work and forgot to let her dog back indoors. The animal died in the heat.
7/2018 Hinds County, Mississippi 1 A K9 was left inside a running car while his handler went to eat, but the vehicle shut off and the dog died.
7/1/2018 Toms River, New Jersey 1 A 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.
6/30/2018 Toledo, Ohio 1 A pit bull died of heatstroke after being left tied to a tree in the heat with no shelter or water.
6/30/2018 Valparaiso, Indiana 1 A dog was left outside in the heat with no shade and died.
6/29/2018 Niles, Ohio 1 A dog was left chained outside and died in the heat.
6/26/2018 Detroit, Michigan 1 A 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.
6/22/2018 Wilmington, North Carolina 1 A 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.
6/22/2018 Phoenix, Arizona 1 A dog who was left chained outside died from the heat.
6/21/2018 Sebastian, Florida 1 A 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.
6/21/2018 Chattanooga, Tennessee 1 A family from Florida claimed that they had left their dog in a car for “only” 20 minutes. The animal died of heatstroke.
6/19/2018 Danville, Virginia 1 A pit bull who had a 107-degree temperature after being left in the sun was taken to a vet. He later died of heatstroke.
6/16/2018 Lexington, Kentucky 1 A dog left at a boarding facility died from heatstroke.
6/16/2018 Kansas City, Missouri 1 A dog who had been forgotten outside a boarding facility was unable to find shade and died.
6/13/2018 Geneva, New York 1 A 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.
6/8/2018 Panama City, Florida 2 A man left three dogs in a hot van while he went out to drink. Two of them died.
6/5/2018 Bossier City, Louisiana 3 A woman went to a doctor’s appointment, leaving her three dogs inside her car. They died of heat exhaustion.
6/4/2018 Tyler, Texas 1 A kitten left inside a hot car died.
5/29/2018 Des Moines, Iowa 1 A dog was left outside for hours. By the time police arrived, the animal was dead.
5/27/2018 Hutchinson, Kansas 1 A 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.
5/23/2018 Gwinnett County, Georgia 1 A dog who had been left by a woman inside a car for five hours died.
5/22/2018 Ellisville, Missouri 1 Thirteen dogs were found locked inside a hot car. One of them died.
5/11/2018 Camden County, Georgia 1 A 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.
4/11/2018 Albuquerque, New Mexico 6 At 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 rescues of companion animals reported in 2018:

Date Location Rescue Details Number of Dogs or Other Animals Rescued Notes
9/28/2018 Merritt Island, Florida A 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
9/15/2018 Ottawa, Ontario Multiple good Samaritans called authorities after spotting various companion animals left in hot cars. 8 On an unseasonably warm Saturday, police received eight calls about companion animals who had been left in vehicles.
9/5/2018 St. Louis, Missouri A dog was locked inside a hot car for at least two hours. 1 The Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task Force and the St. Louis Fire Department rescued the dog.
9/5/2018 Liberty, Ohio Officers discovered a black dog inside a locked Jeep parked on the roadway with no license plate. 1 The 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.
9/3/2018 Secaucus, New Jersey Customers at a retail store called police after spotting a dog trapped inside a hot car. 1 It 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.
8/31/2018 Michigan City, Indiana A passerby noticed a dog in a hot car and called animal control. 1 The 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.
8/30/2018 Sagamore Hills Township, Ohio A passerby noticed a puppy inside a locked vehicle and called police. 1 The 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.
8/29/2018 Vaughan, Ontario Police received a call about a dog in a parked car. 1 Police sent out a tweet criticizing someone for leaving a dog in a parked car. A heat warning was in effect.
8/29/2018 Norwalk, Connecticut A passerby saw a dog in a hot vehicle and called police. 1 The 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.
8/29/2018 Annandale, Virginia A witness reported that a dog was alone in the back of a pickup truck without water. 1 The 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.
8/28/2018 Springfield, Massachusetts A witness noticed a dog trapped inside a hot car and called police. 1 The outside temperature at the time was 90 degrees. The dog had been left in the car for about 45 minutes.
8/27/2018 Hunter, New York Police 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. 1 The 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.
8/27/2018 Canton, Ohio A visitor to a hospital noticed a dog alone in a car and called security. 1 The 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.
8/24/2018 Oakton, Virginia Security guards at a high school discovered a dog inside a parked truck. 1 The dog’s owner was issued a summons for inadequate care of an animal.
8/22/2018 Wareham, Massachusetts A passerby called police about 40 minutes after spotting two dogs trapped inside an SUV. 2 The 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.
8/21/2018 Sacramento, California The fire department freed a dog trapped inside a hot car. 1 The temperature in the car reached 114 degrees. The dog’s owner said that the window was rolled down.
8/21/2018 Marysville, Washington After 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?” 1 The interior temperature of the van was 103 degrees. Officers waited 90 minutes for someone to return before breaking a window to rescue the dog.
8/14/2018 Norfolk, Virginia A passerby spotted a dog in a hot car and called local animal control. 1 The 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.
8/14/2018 Williamsburg, Virginia Police rescued a dog from a hot car in the middle of a sweltering day. 1 A teen was taken to a juvenile detention facility and charged with cruelty to an animal.
8/9/2018 Macon, Georgia A passerby noticed puppies in a hot car and called animal control. 6 Several of the puppies were unconscious from heat exhaustion. They were panting, dehydrated, and in desperate need of emergency care.
8/9/2018 Orlando, Florida A man wanted in connection with multiple burglaries left a dog inside a vehicle for 15 hours. 1 The dog was rescued a day after deputies first noticed the animal in the unlocked car.
8/3/2018 Hamilton, Ontario A good Samaritan called police after spotting a large dog inside a car, panting heavily and showing signs of distress. 1 The 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.
8/1/2018 Pensacola, Florida A passerby spotted a dog inside a hot car and called police. 1 The 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.
7/31/2018 Las Vegas, Nevada A woman noticed two dogs in a hot car, called police, and took a video of the incident. 2 The 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.
7/13/2018 Niagara Falls, New York A puppy was left in a hot car. 1 Temperatures were high, and the puppy was lying on the floor of the car, panting heavily. The animal’s owner was charged.
7/12/2018 Sandy Springs, Georgia A passerby contacted police after noticing a dog in a van on a hot day. 1 The 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.
7/12/2018 Fairfield, Ohio A passerby noticed a dog in a hot car and manipulated the car window to get her out. 1 No 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.
7/8/2018 Auburn, Maine A 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
7/5/2018 Halifax, Nova Scotia Bystanders called police after they heard a dog whimpering in a hot car. 1 The animal was in a small travel carrier, which had little ventilation. The dog’s owner was fined $700.
7/5/2018 Bay Roberts, Newfoundland A 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. 1 The dog’s owner was ticketed under the Animal Health and Protection Act.
7/5/2018 Victoria, British Columbia Two 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. 2 The dogs’ owner was fined.
7/5/2018 Townshend, Vermont A 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. 1 The dog was rescued, and police discovered that the vehicle had been stolen.
7/4/2018 Manchester, Connecticut Two passersby called police after noticing a dog in a car with the windows rolled up. 1 Officers 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.
7/2/2018 Chatham-Kent, Ontario A dog was left unattended in a hot car. 1 The dog’s owner was fined C$365.
6/30/2018 Toledo, Ohio Two dogs were found tied up outside in the heat without shelter. One survived, but the other did not. 1
6/27/2018 Lincoln, Nebraska A 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
6/26/2018 Nye County, Nevada In separate incidents, two dogs were left inside hot cars parked outside a Walmart. Their owners were not cited. 2
6/12/2018 Las Vegas, Nevada A 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. 1 The owner eventually came out of the gym but drove off with the dog before police showed up.
6/11/2018 Wichita, Kansas Police broke a car window to free a dog who had been trapped inside for more than an hour. 1 The dog’s owner was charged with misdemeanor animal negligence.
6/8/2018 Colorado Springs, Colorado A good Samaritan called the fire department after spotting a dog in a hot car. 1 The driver returned to the vehicle as firefighters arrived. The driver was issued a warning.
6/6/2018 Orange County, California A passerby noticed a pig locked inside a car on a hot day. 1 The pig’s owner was located, and the animal was rescued from the hot vehicle.
6/2/2018 Omaha, Nebraska A passerby called police after spotting a dog and two young boys in a hot car. 1 A 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.
5/31/2018 Glasgow, Kentucky After a good Samaritan called police, officers used a mechanical device to free three dogs from a vehicle. 3 The 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.
5/28/2018 Brooklyn, New York A passerby saw two dogs in a car and called 911. Police administered oxygen before rushing them to a local animal hospital. 2 The 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.
5/26/2018 Vestal, New York A 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
5/26/2018 Oxford, Ohio A passerby noticed a dog trapped inside a car on a hot day. 1 The 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.
5/25/2018 Xenia, Ohio A passerby called 911 after noticing a dog in a car. 1 The windows were rolled up, and the temperature in the vehicle had reached 105 degrees. The dog’s owner was given a warning.
5/22/2018 Ellisville, Missouri Nearby 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. 12 A couple is facing cruelty charges. All the dogs showed signs of brain damage.
5/19/2018 Navarre, Florida Neighbors spotted a dog panting and shaking uncontrollably inside a car and called police. 1 A man is facing cruelty-to-animals charges after he left his dog in a car while he went for a swim at a beach.
5/14/2018 Escambia County, Florida A deputy broke a car window to help a puppy in need. 1 The dog’s owner was arrested. The puppy was squealing, panting heavily, and in distress. The outside temperature was reportedly 92 degrees.
5/14/2018 Medford, Oregon A speeding driver was pulled over, and 10 puppies were discovered in the car’s hot trunk. 10 The puppies were panting heavily and didn’t have access to water or fresh air. The day reached a record temperature of 88 degrees.
5/8/2018 Santa Clarita, California A 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
5/7/2018 Sterling, Virginia Police and animal services staff were able to get into a car to access a dog in need of help. 1 The temperature inside the car was 127 degrees. The dog’s owner was reportedly shopping.
4/23/2018 Fresno, California A good Samaritan broke a truck’s window with a brick in order to rescue a dog in need. 1 The dog’s owner was arrested on felony cruelty-to-animals charges.

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

URGENT: Dogs trapped inside hot cars can DIE 🚫☀️🚙🐕If you spot a dog who needs help, here's what you can do: http://peta.vg/28na

Posted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on Thursday, June 7, 2018

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