Three dogs die after owner leaves them locked in car during heat wave

It should be common knowledge by now that keeping your dog in a hot car is a very bad idea. Cars heat up fast, and dogs are susceptible to heat stroke—according to the American Kennel Club, hundreds of dogs die from hot cars every year.

With a heat wave striking the northeast this past weekend and temperatures rising past 100 degrees, it was a crucial time to remember not to leave your dogs unattended for any reason.

Unfortunately, tragedy still struck, when an owner’s negligence killed three dogs at once.

On Sunday, July 21, three dogs were left in a car in Jamestown, Rhode Island, according to NBC 10. The dogs were a 4-year-old black lab, a 7-month-old black lab and a 4-year-old gray keeshond.

Their owner, 65-year-old local Ann Garnett, had left them unattended for a long period of time, with no water and with the windows rolled up. The air conditioning was found to be off.

It was the afternoon, and temperatures were around 90 degrees. Emergency officials were called to the scene, and bystanders made an effort to free the dogs from the vehicle.

The three dogs were unresponsive. While the crowd attempted to revive the dogs and cool them down with ice, the dogs remained in dire condition.

Police Chief Edward Mello said the Jamestown Fire Department rushed the dogs to Newport Animal Hospital, according to ABC 15. Tragically, it was too late: the dogs were pronounced dead a short time later.

Ann Garnett was hit with serious charges: three counts of unnecessary cruelty to an animal (a felony) and three counts of confinement of an animal to a motor vehicle. According to NBC 10, Garnett could face up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine for each count. Police are investigating the possibility that the air conditioning malfunctioned after she left it on.

It’s a heartbreaking tragedy that could’ve easily been prevented with common sense. Being left alone in a car isn’t even safe with the windows down.

“I think any temperature, regardless of whether the air conditioner was on, the windows were down, to be in a vehicle for that extended period of time is clearly unacceptable,” Mello said, according to ABC 15.

Locals agreed, reacting in shock to the news.

“That’s just terrible,” nearby resident Tina Tillinghast said. “That’s just common sense. You don’t leave an animal any kind of animal a child or anything in the car for any amount of time in this kind of heat.”

We’re at the height of summer and there will be plenty of more hot days to come. It is essential that everyone knows not to leave their pets in cars for any reason.

Plan ahead: Leave your pets at home, or ride with someone who can stay with them with the air conditioner going. And if you come across a pet in danger, help them—as this story shows, a dog can only handle so much heat before it is too late.

Help spread this important information, share this story!