Dogs’ death linked to heat


ELLSWORTH (AP) – Authorities are investigating the deaths of two dogs left inside a car during this week’s hot spell.

According to Ellsworth Police Lt. Harold Page, a mother and her adult daughter parked their car at a Home Depot on Wednesday afternoon and left their dogs inside the car while they shopped. When the women emerged from the store about 45 minutes later, the dogs had died from heat exhaustion, police said.

Page would not release the names of the women because they have not been charged, but he said his office had begun an investigation of animal cruelty. He said any findings would be forwarded to the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the Bangor Daily News, the dog owners said they left their dogs inside the car but kept the engine and air conditioning running. When they returned to the car, the engine and air conditioning were not running. Police later observed the air-conditioning controls were in the on position and the keys were in the ignition.

Page said the women tried to administer CPR to their pets, a Rottweiler and a Lab mix, but were unsuccessful. By that time, a Home Depot employee had called police, the News reported.

“They were very shaken up and remorseful,” Page said of the dog owners. “There was nothing intentional here, but still, you have to look at the level of negligence.”

Norma Worley, director of the states Animal Welfare Division, said by telephone Thursday that she had not been informed of the Ellsworth case.

“This is the first case I’ve heard of this year, but last year I know we had several cases,” Worley said, referring to dogs dying from heat exhaustion. “It’s really unfortunate because this happens every year.”

Worley said parked cars could reach an internal temperature of 120 degrees on a hot summer day, in a matter of minutes. She said dogs and cats do not perspire and can dispel heat only by panting and through the pads of their feet.

“My first word of advice is: Don’t bring them. Leave them at home,” Page said. “But if you have to take them with you, check on them often, even if you leave the air conditioning on.”