59 Companion Animals Endured Heat-Related Deaths in 2021—That We Know Of

The number of dogs and other companion animals who reportedly died from heat-related causes in 2021:

59

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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 2021 alone, fifty-nine animals endured heat–related deaths and another 145 were rescued from the heat—and those are just the ones that were reported. Most almost certainly aren’t.

Year Deaths Deaths Rescues Rescues
2022 54 See the list. 469 See the list.
2021 59 See the list. 145 See the list.
2020 31 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 2021:

Date Location Number of Dogs or Other Animals Who Died Notes
9/13/2021 Allenwood, Pennsylvania 1 One dog died and two were rescued after being left inside a hot car for several hours.
8/30/2021 Covington, Georgia 1 A K-9 named Tom-Tom died after being left inside a 102.8-degree patrol vehicle with faulty air-conditioning equipment.
8/28/2021 Shenandoah County, Virginia 1 A K-9 died of complications from heat exhaustion after helping his handler search for a suspect in a hit-and-run.
8/25/2021 Wood River, Illinois 1 A man was jailed and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after allegedly leaving his dog inside a parked car for three hours, ending in the dog’s death.
8/21/2021 North Olmsted, Ohio 1 Two people were arrested on cruelty-to-animals charges after allegedly placing five kittens in a plastic tote and leaving it inside a hot car, leading to the death of one of the kittens.
8/21/2021 Corpus Christi, Texas 11 After 14 dogs were left in the back of a U-Haul truck on a 97-degree day, nine of them were found dead and two had to be euthanized. The other three dogs survived.
8/20/2021 Livingston Parish, Louisiana 1 A K-9 died of heat exhaustion after being left inside a hot patrol vehicle.
8/17/2021 Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1 A man was arrested after allegedly leaving his dog outside in the heat without access to water or shade, leading to the animal’s death.
8/10/2021 East Haven, Connecticut 1 A dog died after being left in a hot car overnight. The owner was being charged.
8/7/2021 Sandusky, Ohio 1 A dog died after being locked inside a hot car as a form of punishment by his owner.
8/3/2021 Hamilton County, Ohio 1 A dog died after being left in a hot car.
8/2/2021 Palo Alto, California 7 Seven puppies died after being transported in a hot van without air conditioning or water.
7/22/2021 Las Vegas, Nevada 1 A woman was arrested after allegedly leaving three dogs inside a hot car while she shopped at Walmart. One of the dogs had to be euthanized as a result.
7/17/2021 Dallas, Texas 1 One sheep died and four others were rescued after being confined to the trunk of a hot car.
7/13/2021 Nashville, Tennessee 1 One dog died and another was rescued after being left inside a hot car on an 82-degree day.
7/8/2021 Pensacola, Florida 1 A dog died of heatstroke after being left inside a hot car for more than an hour.
7/7/2021 Gilbert, Arizona 2 Five kittens were abandoned in boxes in extreme heat outside an animal shelter. Two of them died.
7/4/2021 Valencia, California 2 Two dogs died after being left inside a car outside Six Flags Magic Mountain on a 90-degree day.
6/23/2021 Sevierville, Tennessee 1 Two monkeys were left inside a hot car outside a water park. One monkey died, and the other was treated for heat distress.
6/23/2021 Cocoa, Florida 1 ​​A K-9 officer died after being left in the back of a patrol car on an 86-degree day.
6/20/2021 Las Vegas, Nevada 2 Two dogs died after being confined to a garage on a 111-degree day.
6/18/2021 Riverside County, California 1 A dog was euthanized after being found thrashing on the side of a road in 116-degree weather.
6/10/2021 Parma, Ohio 1 A dog died after being left inside a hot car overnight.
6/10/2021 Chicago, Illinois 1 A dog died after being left inside a transport vehicle on a 90-degree day while under the care of a kennel facility.
6/9/2021 Clearwater, Florida 2 Two dogs died after being left inside a hot car following a fire at a veterinary clinic.
6/8/2021 Gaylord, Minnesota 1 A dog died after being chained outside in extreme heat with no food, water, or shelter.
6/6/2021 Odessa, Texas 1 A dog died after being left inside a hot car on a 90-degree day.
6/4/2021 Las Vegas, Nevada 1 A dog died outside a home because of extreme heat. The high reached a record-tying 109 degrees.
6/2/2021 Minneapolis, Minnesota 3 Three dogs died of heatstroke after being left “outside of residences.”
June 2021 Treasure Valley area of Idaho 4 At least four dogs died after being left inside hot cars in June.
June 2021 Omaha, Nebraska 2 Two dogs have died so far this summer from heat-related conditions.
5/31/2021 Niagara Falls, New York 1 A dog died after being left inside a hot car.
5/13/2021 Forsyth, Georgia 1 A K9 officer died after being left inside a hot car overnight.

The following list is a compilation of heat-related rescues of companion animals reported in 2021:

Date Location Number of Dogs or Other Animals Rescued Notes
12/19/2021 West Melbourne, Florida 2 A police officer rescued two dogs who were locked inside a hot car in a Walmart parking lot.
9/18/2021 West Paradise, Nova Scotia, Canada 2 A woman was charged after allegedly leaving two dogs inside a hot car while golfing when the temperature outside was 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).
9/13/2021 Allenwood, Pennsylvania 2 One dog died and two were rescued after being left inside a hot car for several hours.
9/13/2021 St. Louis, Missouri 2 Firefighters rescued two dogs who were bound with duct tape inside a hot car in a Planet Fitness parking lot.
9/12/2021 Santa Clarita, California 1 Sheriff’s deputies rescued a dog who had been locked inside a hot pickup truck.
8/28/2021 Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada 1 A man was charged after police broke into his vehicle, which was parked outside a shopping center, to rescue a dog in distress.
8/25/2021 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 2 A woman was cited after leaving two dogs inside a 107-degree car in a Best Buy parking lot.
8/21/2021 Akron, Ohio 1 Police officers rescued a dog who was in distress after being left inside a hot vehicle for at least 25 minutes.
8/21/2021 North Olmsted, Ohio 4 Two people were arrested on cruelty-to-animals charges after allegedly placing five kittens in a plastic tote and leaving it inside a hot car, leading to the death of one of the kittens.
8/21/2021 Corpus Christi, Texas 3 After 14 dogs were left in the back of a U-Haul truck on a 97-degree day, nine of them were found dead and two had to be euthanized. The other three dogs survived.
8/21/2021 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 1 A man was cited after leaving his dog inside a hot car.
8/18/2021 Cocoa, Florida 10 A man and woman were facing cruelty-to-animals charges after allegedly leaving two dogs and eight cats inside a hot van.
8/17/2021 Goodlettsville, Tennessee 1 A man was arrested after allegedly leaving a dog and a baby in a minivan outside a Kroger grocery store.
8/16/2021 Milford, Connecticut 1 A man was arrested after allegedly leaving his dog inside a hot car in a Walmart parking lot.
8/12/2021 Melbourne, Florida 1 A puppy had to be rescued after being left in a hot car outside a mall.
8/12/2021 Hingham, Massachusetts 1 A dog was rescued from a hot car during scorching heat after being forgotten by the owners. The animal was transported for emergency veterinary treatment in serious condition.
8/9/2021 Orlando, Florida 1 A dog had to be rescued after being left inside a hot car outside Walt Disney World.
8/9/2021 Greenfield, Massachusetts 1 After waiting 42 minutes for a dog’s owner to return to the hot car the animal was in outside a grocery store, a woman opened the door and gave the dog water. When the owners arrived, they were belligerent.
8/6/2021 Miramar, Florida 1 A puppy had to be rescued by firefighters and police after being left inside a hot car outside a nail salon.
8/3/2021 Idaho Falls, Idaho 1 A woman was charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly leaving a dog in a hot car outside a shopping mall. The animal’s temperature had risen to over 103 degrees.
7/30/2021 Atlanta, Georgia 1 Firefighters rescued a dog who had been locked inside a hot car.
7/29/2021 Brunswick, Ohio 1 A dog was rescued after being left inside a hot car on an 86-degree day.
7/29/2021 Tucson, Arizona 2 Two dogs were rescued from hot cars in a Costco parking lot.
7/26/2021 Aurora, Illinois 1 A dog was rescued after being left inside a hot car for nearly an hour outside a shopping mall.
7/23/2021 Mobile, Alabama 1 Police officers rescued a dog who had been left inside a hot car in a Walmart parking lot.
7/22/2021 Las Vegas, Nevada 2 A woman was arrested after allegedly leaving three dogs inside a hot car while she shopped at Walmart. One of the dogs had to be euthanized as a result.
7/20/2021 Middlesboro, Kentucky 1 A dog was rescued after being left inside a hot car in a Walmart parking lot on an 89-degree day.
7/17/2021 Des Moines, Iowa 4 Four dogs were rescued from hot cars in one weekend.
7/17/2021 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 2 Two puppies were rescued from a hot car on an 88-degree day.
7/17/2021 Dallas, Texas 4 One sheep died and four others were rescued after being confined to the trunk of a hot car.
7/15/2021 Chester, New Jersey 1 A woman was charged after allegedly leaving her dog inside a hot car in a HomeGoods parking lot.
7/15/2021 Solon, Ohio 1 A dog was rescued after being left inside a hot car in a Hobby Lobby parking lot.
7/14/2021 Los Angeles, California 1 Firefighters rescued a dog who was left inside a hot car on an 84-degree day.
7/14/2021 Jamestown, New York 1 A woman was charged after allegedly leaving her dog inside a hot car.
7/13/2021 Springfield, Missouri 1 Police officers rescued a dog who had been left inside a hot car after his guardian was fatally shot nearby.
7/13/2021 Palm Bay, Florida 2 Two women were arrested and charged after allegedly leaving two dogs inside a 96-degree car for more than two hours.
7/13/2021 Nashville, Tennessee 1 One dog died and another was rescued after being left inside a hot car on an 82-degree day.
7/12/2021 Clovis, California 4 Four dogs were rescued from hot cars in one week.
7/11/2021 San Juan Island, Washington 1 Police officers rescued a dog from a hot car on a 63-degree day.
7/10/2021 Las Vegas, Nevada 1 Police officers rescued a dog who was left inside a hot car for more than five hours.
7/10/2021 Pasadena, California 2 Firefighters rescued two cats who were left inside a hot car on a 97-degree day.
7/9/2021 Las Vegas, Nevada 2 Two dogs were rescued from a 115-degree car.
7/7/2021 Gilbert, Arizona 3 Five kittens were abandoned in boxes in extreme heat outside an animal shelter. Two of them died.
7/7/2021 Brookville, Pennsylvania 1 Police officers rescued a dog from a hot car on an 88-degree day.
7/7/2021 Clovis, California 1 A dog was rescued from a 120-degree car.
7/5/2021 Los Angeles, California 1 A good Samaritan rescued a dog from a hot car on a 100-degree day.
7/5/2021 Lynchburg, Virginia 1 ​​A dog was rescued after being left inside a car on a 90-degree day.
7/4/2021 Winthrop, Massachusetts 3 Between June 27 and July 4, police officers rescued three dogs from hot cars.
Summer 2021 Los Angeles, California 1 A veterinarian treated a dog suffering from heatstroke who had been running around in a backyard when it was 90 degrees outside.
7/1/2021 Franklin Township, Ohio 1 A dog was rescued from a hot car on a 90-degree day.
6/30/2021 Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1 A woman is facing charges after leaving her dog inside a car for almost three hours while the temperature outside was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius).
6/29/2021 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1 A woman was charged with cruelty to animals after leaving her dog inside a hot car on a 96-degree day.
6/29/2021 Edmonton, Alberta 1 Edmonton Fire Rescue Services rescued a dog from a hot car. The temperature inside the vehicle was reportedly 58 degrees Celsius (136 degrees Fahrenheit).
6/28/2021 Duluth, Georgia 1 Police rescued a puppy who was left inside a hot car for almost an hour in a Walmart parking lot.
6/27/2021 Stowe, Vermont 1 A dog was rescued from a hot car on an 88-degree day.
6/27/2021 Oliver, British Columbia, Canada 1 ​​ A dog was rescued from a hot car on a 43°C (109°F) day while the dog’s owner was swimming in a lake.
6/26/2021 Cincinnati, Ohio 2 Two puppies were rescued after being left inside a hot car for almost an hour.
6/23/2021 Sevierville, Tennessee 1 ​​Two monkeys were left inside a hot car outside a water park. One monkey died, and the other was treated for heat distress.
6/23/2021 Loveland, Colorado 1 ​​Police rescued a Doberman pinscher puppy from inside a hot car parked outside Walmart after a good Samaritan called them. Temperature readings taken inside the car ranged from 114 to 140 degrees.
6/20/2021 Royal Palm Beach, Florida 1 A dog was rescued by firefighters after being left inside a hot car.
6/20/2021 Warr Acres, Oklahoma 1 A dog was abandoned outside an animal shelter on a 97-degree day without any way to escape the heat.
6/18/2021 Nashville, Tennessee 1 Firefighters rescued a dog from a hot car on an 87-degree day.
6/9/2021 Des Moines, Iowa 2 Two dogs were rescued from a 142-degree car.
6/5/2021 Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada 1 A dog was rescued from a hot car, and their owner was fined.
6/2/2021 Las Vegas, Nevada 1 A pot-bellied pig was rescued after being left inside a dog cage outside a home in 107-degree weather.
6/2/2021 Minneapolis, Minnesota 9 Nine dogs have been rescued from hot cars in Minneapolis since June 1.
5/26/2021 Wadsworth, Ohio 2 A woman was issued a summons for cruelty to animals following a report that dogs had been left in a hot car.
5/26/2021 Austintown, Ohio 1 A dog was hospitalized after being left inside a hot car on an 84-degree day.
5/26/2021 Houston, Texas 12 Eleven puppies and their mother who had been abandoned in a park were rescued after suffering from heat exhaustion.
Week of 5/24/2021 Branford, Connecticut 3 In one day, three different dogs were rescued from hot cars in separate incidents.
5/21/2021 Athens, Georgia 2 Two dogs were rescued after being tied to a pole outside an animal shelter on an 85-degree day without water. One dog experienced heatstroke.
5/21/2021 Nashville, Tennessee 2 Two dogs were rescued after being left inside cars in a Kroger parking lot.
5/20/2021 Lodi, Ohio 2 Dogs were removed from a hot car after a resident filed a report.
5/19/2021 Troy, Michigan 1 A dog was rescued after being left inside a hot car for about 90 minutes.
5/18/2021 Cleveland, Ohio 1 A dog was rescued after being left inside a hot car for at least an hour on a 78-degree day.
5/16/2021 Portsmouth, New Hampshire 1 A dog was rescued after being locked inside a hot car.
5/11/2021 Sarasota, Florida 1 A dog was rescued after being locked inside a car in which the temperature had reached 115 degrees.
5/6/2021 Houston, Texas 1 A pig died after being left inside a vehicle for over 24 hours.
4/25/2021 Sarasota, Florida 1 A police officer rescued a dog from a hot car. The temperature inside the vehicle had risen to 111 degrees.
4/1/2021 Palm Desert, California 1 Animal control officers rescued a dog who was trapped inside a hot car.

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