German Shepherd rescued from hot car gets adopted by responding officer

Every year we see many tragic stories of pets being left in hot cars. Dogs are especially susceptible to heat stroke, and will suffer or even die if left in an unopened car for an extended period.

Another one of these sad cases occurred in Indianapolis last month — but after tragedy came a sweet happy ending for one of the dogs involved, and the officer who saved him.

A pit bull, a German shepherd and a cat were all left inside a Chevrolet sedan outside a hotel in Indianapolis last month. According to WISH, the animals were inside the car for about three hours. The windows were barely opened and they didn’t have any water.

The animals suffered from the ordeal, and appeared desperate for help: claw marks were found on the window, and the German shepherd reportedly honked the car’s horn.

When the owners finally returned to the car, it was too late: the pit bull, who had been chained to the floorboard of the car with a weight, had died.

One of the owners, identified by WISH as 53-year-old Charles Thomas, told the pit bull to “wake up,” according to one witness, before reporting the death to a hotel manager.

Animal Control arrived on the scene and provided water to the German shepherd and cat. Thomas was arrested for felony animal cruelty-kill while 74-year-old Normal Light was arrested for misdemeanor animal cruelty.

While it was yet another senseless and tragic hot car death, the sad story has a silver lining. IMPD Public Safety Officer Poe, one of the responding officers, quickly fell for the German Shepherd he saved from that hot car — and soon began inquiring how to adopt the “resilient” dog, according to a Facebook post.

After reaching out to Indianapolis Animal Care Services, PSO Poe officially adopted the dog, whom he named Abby. She is reportedly settling in well to her new home.

“I switched her collar, and it was like Abby knew she was home for good,” Poe says.

With the summer in full swing, and many areas already reaching scorching high temperatures, it’s more important than ever to be vigilant about dogs left in hot cars.

It should be common knowledge to not leave a dog in a hot car, but sadly there are still many cases like this every year, including fatalities. According to PETA, 163 animals died from hot car deaths in 2023, while another 855 were rescued.

There have already been many incidents of dogs being left in hot vehicles this season, including an incident at Disney Springs that resulted in one dog’s death and a dog who was rescued from a dangerously hot U-Haul truck parked at the beach.

But thankfully there are people who will step in and rescue these animals — and in this case, give them a great new home.

Thank you to this responding officer for adopting this German shepherd, and giving this sad story an uplifting ending.

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