Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One dog dies, others rescued from hot cars

SEATTLE -- Seattle city officials said animal control officers responded to at least four separate reports of animals left in hot vehicles on Sunday.

One pit bull died while left in a car parked on Western Avenue. A police report said officers found the pit bull in a hot car with scratch marks throughout the interior "as if the animal was trying to escape" along with saliva, blood and vomit.

"These are all signs of animals that really suffered from heat stress," said Don Jordan with the Seattle Animal Shelter. "When it gets to be that hot that's when an animal will start suffering from heat frustration. Their organs start to shut down and then brain death and then they die."

Meanwhile, Jerry Gresham had just parked his motorcycle on his way to Hempfest when he saw the pit bull locked in another car and flagged down a nearby police officer, who tracked down the dog's owner.

"The police officer told me that (the owners') response was, 'Oh we left plenty water for him.' That was just a stupid statement in my opinion," Gresham said.

Officials said in all of the Sunday incidents the pet owners were from out of the area and attending Hempfest.

Another dog was rescued when police officers broke into an SUV Sunday evening after people reported seeing a dog overheating inside.

The SUV was parked under the Alaskan Way Viaduct near the Seattle Aquarium, and officials said the dog was left inside for quite a while.

After police broke out a window, animal control officers took the dog to a vet. Officers also found a cat inside, in addition to a bowl of water and some food.

Three dogs and two cats that were rescued from the vehicles are in the care of animal control officials. We're told they are expected to be OK and will be returned to their owners, who will likely get a warning.