Animal Help: (US CO) Dogs suffer in extreme weather with improper care August 13, 2005 9:04 AM
BRIGHTON - The recent heat wave made life miserable for people and animals alike. Some animals, through the neglect of their owners, suffered and even died as a result. Local animal experts say common sense could have avoided harming animals in the hot weather.
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At midday July 21 when temperatures hit the 99-degree mark, a Brighton police animal control officer was called to Bridge Square Apartments on a report of a dog left in the hot sun on asphalt tied to a truck. Panting, shifting its weight from paw to paw to avoid the heat of the pavement and in obvious pain, the animal control officer untied the 2- or 3-year-old brown-and-white boxer and allowed it to rest under a shade tree. A girl in the apartment complex brought out a bowl of water, which the dog drank dry. She brought out a second bowl of water that included ice cubes. The dog drank even more water and found comfort in the cooling ice cubes.
When the owner, a 40-year-old Fort Lupton man, arrived, he said he was just inside the complex for a few minutes, even though the dog was seen sitting outside for a half-hour before animal control arrived. The animal control officer spent another 25 minutes trying to comfort the dog.
Eventually, the officer took the dog to the Bridge Street Veterinary Clinic where Robert Redman, D.V.M, treated the dog as an emergency case. He said the animal control officer did a good job of rehydrating the dog, but it was clear the dog was emaciated. X-rays confirmed the dog suffered broken bones and a back injury from having been run over by a car a week earlier, for which no medical treatment was sought, according to the dog's owner. The dog also had older injuries and arthritis.
"Either some people are ignorant or they're idiots or they just forget," Redman said of dog owners who don't take proper precautions with their pets in extreme weather. "When it's 100 degrees outside, it's got to be 140 or 150 inside the car. They can fry their pets in virtually minutes.
"If they leave them outside, they have to leave them with fresh water and shade," he continued. "If they don't have those things and it's 100 degrees out, they (the pets) are going to overheat. But most people don't want to hurt their dogs, unless they are psychopaths."
Brighton animal control officer Holly Hosker said it's better just to leave dogs and pets at home when temperatures are higher than 70 degrees.
"Remember, dogs are wearing fur coats and only sweat through their tongue and pads on their paws," Hosker said. "They can suffer heat stroke and brain damage in minutes if left outside or in a hot car. Think of it as their innards are boiling. People have got to use common sense."
Another dog wasn't so lucky. During the same heat wave, a dog trapped in a hot car in Fort Lupton died July 22 before firefighters could get to it.
The man who left his boxer tied to the truck retrieved his dog and was ordered to pay the vet and shelter bills totaling nearly $500. He also was ticketed for animal neglect and improper tethering of an animal.
Contact News Editor Linda Tharp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-659-2522, ext. 217.