Complaints piling up about dogs suffering in the heat

Posted at 12:29 AM, Jul 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-06 00:29:39-04

Richmond, Va. (WTVR) – Richmond Animal Control said that complaints are piling up about dogs suffering in the heat—and it’s no surprise with 100 plus degree days.

Luke Mallory has two dogs. These days he makes sure they're sheltered from the heat when he takes them outside to play along the James River.

“I bring water and set it out where ever we're playing… I treat my dogs like children,” Mallory said.

But, not all pet owners are good parents, said Richmond Animal Control supervisor, Mark Wachner.

“There are criminal offenses that can be assessed here in the case of a death,” he said.

During the past two weeks, Wachner said he's been getting bombarded with almost half a dozen calls a day for dogs in distress.

"In most cases the animals are confined in such a way they can't get out of the sun, and they don't have proper access to water,” Wachner said.

Last week, he said someone abandoned puppies in the sweltering heat, and three of them died.

And in another case, he says a miniature pinscher went into seizure because it was left outside. Its owner is now facing charges. Wachner said that dog is now in critical condition.

 Dogs don’t sweat like humans, said Wachner.

“What that means is that they can’t dissipate the heat,” Wachner said.” “So, as uncomfortable as we are, it’s twice as bad for our pets,” Wachner said.

Wachner's officers are using heat kits on a daily basis. Wachner says if you want a pet, but can't take care of it, don't get one.

He said that he hears all the time that pets are our family members. “Well, treat it like one,” he said. “Give it the respect it deserves.”

“It’s a life,” said Wachner.” It feels hurt, hot, cold, pain and comfort.”

 Wachner recommends you walk your dog during the morning hours, instead of during the day.

If you have to keep it outside, make sure it has plenty of water and shade. And, if you can keep your pet inside, he said to please do it.