February 21, 2024

12 dogs die after air conditioning fails on the way to adoption event

A dozen dogs died while en route to an adoption event after the air conditioning failed in a transport trailer, an animal welfare organization said Monday. 

Georgia-based LifeLine Animal Project was bringing the dogs to an out-of-state adoption event over the weekend in an effort to help the dogs find homes, the organization wrote in a Facebook post. Team members stopped frequently throughout the drive to check on the dogs. 

“We are devastated to share that within an hour from the last check-in, the team discovered that the air conditioning unit failed,” LifeLine wrote. “The temperature gauge for the trailer that was displayed in the cab remained around 72 to 65 degrees and did not indicate any issues.”

Eleven dogs passed away on site. Team members were able to save 22 dogs using emergency supplies in the trailer, the organization wrote. Two other dogs were taken to a local emergency veterinary clinic, where one of the dogs passed away. 

Workers from Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, traveled to help until the dogs could be brought back to Georgia. 

“This tragic loss has shaken all of us to our core,” LifeLine wrote. “Though this was an unforeseen and devastating mechanical failure, the loss is unfathomable. In this dark hour, we wanted to let our community know about this tragedy and we ask that you please support the teams with your thoughts and kindness.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns of the possible challenges and dangers involved in transporting animals in cars in hot weather

“It’s hard enough to imagine ourselves being trapped in a hot car, but pets have special challenges,” the organization wrote in a 2018 post. “Dogs and cats cool off primarily by panting—not by sweating—and their systems can become overwhelmed quickly. The rising temperature increases their heart and respiratory rates and can cause seizures as well and harm to vital organs resulting in permanent injury or death. Every moment that passes and every increase in temperature dramatically decreases an animal’s chances for survival.”

In July, several dogs being taken from Chicago, Illinois, to a K-9 training facility in Michigan City, Indiana, died after the air conditioning unit in a vehicle cargo area failed. Authorities did not specify exactly how many of the dogs died in the incident. 

As of July 31, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has tracked 73 deaths of dogs and other companion animals who have reportedly died from heat-related causes so far this year. PETA tracked 57 heat-related deaths last year and 59 the previous year. The organization’s data goes back to 2018, and this year, which has been notably hot, has seen the highest number of heat-related deaths.

Mike Bettes, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, previously told “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell that if it’s 100 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car would be 119 degrees after just 10 minutes. After half an hour, the temperature inside the vehicle would be 134 degrees, which is “unsurvivable for a small child strapped inside a car seat or for pets.”

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