The Heartbreaking True Story of a Dog Left to Die in a Hot Car

On June 4, 2016, a dog died of heat exhaustion after being left in a parked car in Salt Lake City, Utah. UARC has obtained the investigative report of the incident. Below is this dog’s story, along with excerpts from the official report. 


1. A 15-month old yellow lab was left in a parked car. The temperature outside was 88 °F. A responding officer said she was “crumpled up on the floorboard,” barely breathing, and nonresponsive.

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2. The officer broke into the car. The dog was unconscious but breathing. First aid was applied and she was taken to an emergency vet.

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3. The car had all an all-black interior. The temperature was recorded in the vehicle at over 122.5 °F, even after the door had been open for a few minutes.

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4. The driver told the officer he left the dog inside the car, with no water, for more than four hours while he engaged in “recreational painting.” Not once did he check on her. 

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5. Despite being rushed to the veterinarian, she died. Vet staff said the dog’s internal temperature was “too high to register on their thermometer.”Dog-in-Hot-Car-6

6. The owner defended his actions saying he “did not think it was that hot outside.”

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Thank you to Salt Lake County Animal Services officers for heroically trying to save this dog’s life, and saving the lives of countless others.

If you see an animal trapped in a parked car, it is vital that you call your local animal control agency immediately. Take photographs of the vehicle and its license plates. Go into local businesses and have the owner of the vehicle paged. And don’t leave the dog’s side until emergency responders arrive.

Some states are providing civil and criminal immunity for those who forcibly enter a vehicle to rescue an animal in peril. Unlike a dog’s life, broken car windows can be replaced.