Phoenix puppy dies in hot car outside of mall

A security guard noticed the Pit Bull locked in the black-colored Mazda vehicle in 109-degree heat. (Photo credit: CBS5AZ.com)

Late last month, DogTime.com told you the sad story of six dogs who died from heatstroke in the back of their dogwalker’s truck. British Columbia, Canada dogwalker Emma Paulsen faces charges of animal cruelty after authorities, including two pet detectives, discovered that Paulsen panicked and dumped the bodies of the six dogs — five belonging to Paulsen’s clients and one Paulsen’s own Border Collie, Salty — after she’d realized the dogs had perished in the back of her vehicle on a hot day.

Now, a story out of Phoenix, Arizona is another harsh reminder of the dangers of leaving pets in vehicles in hot weather conditions.

A security guard at the Christown Spectrum Mall called the Phoenix Police Department around 3:30 Monday afternoon after finding a puppy locked inside of a shopper’s car.

The dog, a 6-month-old Pit Bull Terrier mix named Raider, was in distress but still alive when the security guard found him in the back of his owner’s black Mazda Tribute SUV, which was parked in the direct sunlight on a day when the mercury reached a devastatingly scorching 109 degrees.

But by the time police officers arrived and the dog’s owner could be located, and though the security guard had tried to move Raider to a golf cart and cool him down with water, it was too late. The poor dog had succumbed to the oppressive heat.

The Arizona Humane Society also sent its team of Emergency Animal Medical Technicians (EAMTs) to the scene, hoping they would be able to do something to help. But after finding the dog had already died, the team decided to investigate.

“The EAMTs took a temperature, body temperature on the dog, and our thermometers go up to 110. And, unfortunately, the dog’s temperature surpassed that—because the thermometer stopped reading at 110,” Arizona Humane Society spokesperson Ashleigh Goebel tells KPHO.

The normal body temperature range for dogs is between 101 and 102.5 degrees.

While the Arizona Humane Society has come across many pets in dire situations, there is just something tragic about pets who lose their lives in this way.

“I think the most heartbreaking are the ones with dogs that are locked in cars,” Goebel tells AZFamily.com. “It’s just devastating. It’s a very sad day.”

Phoenix animal lovers are outraged and saddened after learning of Raider’s senseless death.

“I probably would’ve bashed her windows out and took the dog out, if I’d seen the dog in the car, honestly,” said dog owner James Weaver, who’d adopted a dog at a nearby PetSmart store around the time of the incident. “Whether I’m going to jail or not, I would’ve took the dog out of there.”

The Arizona Humane Society hopes pet owners will remember Raider when thinking about whether or not to bring Fido or Fluffy out for a car trip on a hot day.

“People out there need to realize how hot it is,” Goebel says. “If it’s too hot for us to be in a car, in the parking lot with no shade, it’s too hot for an animal.”

Leaving a pet in the car on a hot day, even for a few minutes, can have deadly consequences. A car can act like a greenhouse, trapping heat inside. Even on days that are only 72 degrees outside, the temperature inside of a vehicle can climb to a dangerous 116 degrees within an hour. In poor Raider’s case, the temperature inside of the SUV led to a case of fatal heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a very serious condition that requires immediate intervention, so it is vital to recognize the signs. Symptoms of heat stroke include heavy panting, trouble breathing, restlessness, thick saliva, an unusually dark-colored red tongue and gums, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, lack of coordination, seizures, or unconsciousness. Pets can sustain brain damage or die from the condition within minutes.

It is important to act quickly if you see a dog left alone in a hot car. Take down the color, make, and model of the vehicle and contact the police immediately. Call and see if nearby businesses will try to page the dog’s owner. Make sure to stay with the dog until help arrives. If emergency personnel do not respond quickly or if you believe the dog’s life is in immediate danger, you may need to take the necessary steps to remove the pet from the hot vehicle yourself. Pets suffering from heat stroke should be transported to a veterinarian in a cold, air-conditioned vehicle right away.

Meanwhile, authorities are still learning new facts about what happened to Raider yesterday afternoon. Investigators have discovered the dog’s owner had been inside shopping for at least an hour while her dog slowly died outside in her car. The owner has been questioned and may be cited for animal cruelty, KSAZ FOX 10 News reports. Raider’s body has since been transported to the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control facility.

Sources: KSAZ FOX 10 News, AZFamily.com, KPHO