A woman from Sedro-Woolley, Washington, was arrested on July 26, 2022, for leaving her dog outside on the balcony without any shade during a dangerous heat wave.
Concerned neighbors who heard the dog in distress trying to claw on the sliding door reported the incident to the Sedro-Woolley Police Department (SWPD).
When the police animal control officer arrived at the house, he found a 5-year-old dog named Enzo, suffering from seizures and foaming at the mouth. The officer tried to save the dog by moving it inside the house and performing life-saving measures to cool down the dog, but the dog eventually died.
It was found that the dog’s internal temperature reached 107 °F, which is the maximum the thermometer can detect. The dog’s water bowl was also found to be empty.
The woman claimed that she was preparing for her son’s birthday and did not notice that the water bowl was empty. She said she was aware of the heatwave warning but did not consider the hot temperature on her deck.
The woman’s spouse said the dog had suffered from hyperthermia before but survived. Charges of first-degree animal cruelty were filed, but the woman was released on her own recognizance.
Excessive Heat Warning
When the police officer measured the temperature surface of the balcony with an infrared camera, the reading measured 131 °F. Outdoor temperatures reached 90 °F that day.
Western Washington, which includes Sedro-Woolley and the greater Seattle area, was under an excessive heat warning during the latter part of July and early August.
As of early August, three people died in Seattle as a result of heat stroke and another three from accidental drowning during the extreme heat, with more deaths expected as the summer heat continues.
Heat spells are becoming longer and more frequent in the Pacific Northwest due to climate change. Between June and July 2021, around 800 people died in the area because of the heatwave.
Pet animals are also suffering, with multiple deaths recorded. Dogs being left inside a hot car is not the only reason for some deaths, but any warm environment can trigger a heat stroke.
Ways To Relieve The Heat
For dogs, heat stroke or hyperthermia happens when their body reaches a temperature of 103 °F. This is a medical emergency that needs to be immediately addressed. Organ failure and death will occur if a dog’s body temperature reaches 107 °F.
Signs of a heat stroke are lethargy, heavy panting, foaming at the mouth, loss of coordination, seizures, and vomiting.
Ways to cool down a dog first include placing them in a cool and shaded place. Veterinarians recommend that their feet be placed in room temperature water. Cool water, but not ice cold, can be poured over their bodies. A fan blowing on their damp skin can also reduce body temperature.
It is essential that ice is not used to cool down a dog. This could shock their system and make matters worse. Damp cloths or towels also should not be kept on the body for a long time, for this will trap even more heat.