Official Report: Dog Found Dying in Parked Car had Internal Temperature “Too High to Register”

UARC Calls for Changes to Local Laws to Prevent Future Tragedies

JUNE 8, 2016

Contact: Jeff Dixon

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Utah Animal Rights Coalition (UARC) has obtained disturbing investigative reports from Salt Lake County Animal Services regarding the tragic incident last weekend where a  a yellow Labrador retriever was left to die in a parked car in Salt Lake City. 

Officers responding to the incident Saturday took temperature readings inside the car–which had an all-black interior–of more than 122 degrees. The outside temperature at the time of the response was in the high 80s. Veterinary staff reported to police that the dog’s internal temperature was “too high to register on their thermometer.” The dog’s owner admitted to not checking on her for more than four hours while he was engaged in “recreational painting.”

“The negligence shown in this case is heartbreaking,” said Jeff Dixon, public policy coordinator for UARC. “Sadly, it’s not an isolated incident, and it is clear that stronger action is needed to help the public understand that leaving a pet in a car can easily lead to a health emergency and even death.”

UARC recommends that local officials consider enacting the following policy changes:

  • A new legal requirement that signs be publicly posted in commercial parking lots where there has been a consistent pattern of dogs beings left in hot cars. See attached for suggested artwork for such a sign.
  • Every minute matters in these situations. Local officials should review and strengthen response protocols to ensure that reports of life-threatening negligence and abuse receive an urgent response, including the use of police emergency vehicle lights.
  • The law should provide individuals with criminal and civil immunity for damage to a motor vehicle when it can be established that the damage was necessary to secure the rescue of an endangered person or animal. Such a law recently went into effect in Florida.

UARC urges anyone who sees a dog left in a car this summer to immediately call authorities, even if the windows are cracked.  After placing the call, take a picture of the vehicle’s license plate, and walk into nearby businesses so the owner can be paged to return to their vehicle at once.  Stay with the dog until responders arrive. People should not assume that the dog’s owner will return soon or that someone else has already called.

To review the animal control reports, click here. 



Policymakers should consider a legal requirement that retail parking lots that have had recurring problems post visible signs like the one above.