For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2013
Kaitlynn Kelly 202-483-7382
Los Angeles —In September 2011, Chevy, a 9-year-old K9 officer with the Laredo Police Department, died from heat exhaustion after he had been left unattended in a patrol car.
That’s why PETA has sent an urgent letter to 500 police agencies across the country—including the Laredo police—alerting them to the perils of leaving K9 officers unattended in parked patrol cars during warm weather. Included with the letter is a poster that shows an officer and his K9 partner standing next to a squad car and reads, “Please Remember: Hot Cars Kill.” The poster goes on to explain how the temperature inside a parked vehicle can go sky high within minutes and that a dog trapped inside can suffer an agonizing and terrifying death. PETA sent the material in advance of the official beginning of summer, June 21.
PETA strongly recommends that all police cars with K9 officers be equipped with the latest heat-monitoring systems, which can page the police officer—and even open a door—if the vehicle shuts off or the air-conditioning system malfunctions.
On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a shaded car is 90 degrees, and the inside of a car parked in the sun can reach 160 degrees in minutes. Death can occur in as little as 15 minutes. In another incident last year, a police lieutenant in Georgia discovered his K9 partner, Sasha, dead in his patrol car. Sasha’s body was covered with flies, indicating that she had been in the car for several days. Before dying from heat exhaustion, she had clawed through the seats, bit through the seatbelts, and tore off the rearview mirror in a desperate attempt to escape. In a much more recent incident, also in Georgia, a K9 officer named Spartacus was found dead from heatstroke in his handler’s car.
The problem isn’t limited to K9 police officers. Every year, PETA receives reports of dogs who have died after having been left alone in a car on a warm day—even when the windows have been left slightly open or the car has been parked in the shade.