Veterinarians, dog owners react to dog dying from heat exhaustion in car

Local News

A woman from the town of Lawrence may face a felony charge of mistreating an animal resulting in death after her golden retriever was found dead inside her vehicle after 12:30 Thursday.

Police say the 55-year-old woman left the dog in the car with the windows up for about three hours at the Packers Pro Shop, but animal experts say it probably only took half an hour for the pet’s organs to shut down.

Authorities say the core temperature of the dog was so high the hospital thermometer couldn’t read just how hot the pet was.

“As a dog owner I find it very hard to understand how you can leave a dog in the car that long knowing heat knowing what happens,” says Savannah Tovani. “When you’re really a dedicated dog owner your dogs are your children.”

Veterinarians at the Allouez Animal Hospital explain why this time of year can be deadly for animals left in vehicles.

“The only cooling system they have is panting and given the humidity and the air quality and just that temperature index, the hotter it is and the more humidity there is, the less they can transfer that air across their tongue and their nasal membranes to cool themselves,” says Becky Krull.

Unfortunately for animals hot temperatures don’t take long to take a toll.

“That death probably happens fast, probably within 15 to 30 minutes,” says Krull. “It does not take long for an animal to come to crisis and death to happen.”

For whatever reason you may have to travel with your pet animal activists say to consider the following:

“You always want to make sure that your pet has access to water and perhaps leave the car running with the air conditioning on,” says Kelli Delveaux with the Wisconsin Humane Society of Green Bay. “Take turns going in, if possible try to seek out pet-friendly restaurants for the dogs. Some places will have a kennel option or an outdoor seating area, those are always optimal when traveling long distances with pets.”

As the temperatures continue to rise the safest way to keep your furry friends healthy – leave them at home.

“Just be smart,” says Tovani. “Don’t leave your dog in the car for more than I think they say it’s like 15 or 20 minutes in this kind of weather, before it’s just unbearable in the car.”

The deceased dog’s owner has not been taken into custody.

Wisconsin’s Good Samaritan statute states that any person who wants to render aid at the scene of an emergency or accident in good faith is immune from civil liability.

If you see a dog that might be in danger you’re just asked to call emergency responders before attempting to break into someone’s car.

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