LAKE STATION, INDIANA—At least 8 German Shepherds died due to heat-related stress after the air conditioning unit keeping them cool failed in a 2-hour traffic delay during transport.
18 German Shepherds were being taken to a K-9 Training Facility in Michigan City from the Chicago O'Hare International Airport when the cargo truck they were loaded in got stuck in hours-long traffic.
The driver, who the police did not name, didn't notice anything unusual until after hearing the dogs' loud and frantic barking from the cargo.
He pulled over at the Road Ranger convenience store in Lake Station to check on them, to find several dogs dead while some were in extreme distress because of the failed AC.
The driver immediately removed the crated dogs, with civilians and bystanders helping to revive some.
The Lake Station Fire Department and EMS, as well as the Lake Station Police Department also responded to the scene, who called the scene chaotic.
“There was an overwhelming response from both agencies, so much so that civilians and so many others stopped to help where they could,” police said in a press release. “The scene was chaotic and took an emotional toll on all that were involved in trying to save as many canines as possible.”
Upon talking to the driver, the police ruled out the possibility of animal cruelty.
They said it was not “an act of animal cruelty or neglect but a mechanical failure of the AC unit that was being used in the cargo area.”
However, Jennifer Webber, executive director of the Humane Society of Hobart, begs to differ.
“Their crates inside the truck were completely trashed on the inside, and the little water bowls were the size you’d give a parrot. And they were empty and torn up as if the dogs were exasperated,” Webber said, talking to the Associated Press.
Webber said she was authorized to conduct an investigation yet encountered resistance when gathering facts.
This whole ‘freak incident' happened in July, amid extreme heat wave that hit North America and several other countries worldwide.
According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 123 heat-related deaths of dogs and cats were reported as of August 2023, double the 57 deaths reported in 2022.
At Top Dog Tips, we always advocate for the safety of all pets, especially in extreme weather conditions.
Here are a couple of articles we recommend you to read:
- How Hot Is Too Hot for A Dog?
- Top 11 Actionable Tips To Protect Dog Paws on Hot Pavement
- Leaving A Dog Inside A Hot Car, Don't Do It