A Phoenix, Arizona, dog died in a hot car while his owner went shopping. Authorities said Radar, a pit bull mix, was locked inside the vehicle for more than one hour. A spokeswoman with the Arizona Humane Society said Radar's internal temperature exceeded 110 degrees.
Authorities said Radar was alive when he was discovered by a Christown Spectrum Mall security guard. As the dog was in obvious distress, the guard removed him from the vehicle and contacted police.
Although the security guard attempted to save Radar's life, it was simply too late. As reported by AZ Family, the ideal body temperature for a dog is 101 degrees. A temperature above 105 degrees is fatal. Radar's internal body temperature was more than 110 degrees when he was removed from the vehicle.
Phoenix Police Sergeant Trent Crump said the owner was eventually located inside the shopping mall. Although she admitted she left Radar in the car "for at least one hour," she was not immediately arrested or charged. Authorities said they are considering charges of felony animal cruelty.
Unfortunately, Radar's story is not unique. Every year, numerous dogs die in hot cars. It is unclear whether pet owners are unaware of the dangers or they simply do not care.
On Monday, Phoenix saw temperatures close to 90 degrees. As discussed by PETA, "on a 90 degree day" the interior of a closed vehicle "can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes."
Although dogs should never be left inside a locked car, outside temperatures above 70 degrees make it specifically dangerous. Experts warn that cracking the windows or using shades is not enough to ensure safety. A dog can die in a hot car within 15 minutes. Those who avoid death may experience irreversible brain damage.
Signs of heatstoke include restlessness, a darkened tongue, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. If heatstroke is suspected, the dog must be treated immediately.
Witnesses who observe a dog locked inside a hot car are urged to call 911 immediately and remain with the vehicle. Breaking into a vehicle is not advised, as it may lead to injury or a legal liability.
Treatment for heatstroke includes cooling the dog and replenishing fluids. Although immediate treatment is necessary to ensure the dog's survival, it is not a substitute for veterinary care. The dog should be transported to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
A devastating number of dogs die in hot cars every year. Although the statistics are heartbreaking, the deaths are preventable.
[Images via Shutterstock and KGUN 9]