Dogs Die In Not-Too-Hot Cars

I am sharing this sad story so that citizens who find a dog locked in a car can share that dogs die in cars even on not so hot days.  Tragically, this dog died on a 70 degree F day after being left unattended for three hours. This occured in our neighborhood here in Palm Springs.

Now, if you find a dog locked in a car, and a police officer or store owner dismisses your concern with “it’s not that hot out” you can site this case as evidence to support your concern.  Of course science has proven this for years, but we continue to frame the problem as “dogs die in hot cars”.  Not always. 

Dogs should never be left alone in a car for any length of time.  This is the police report from the Palm Springs, CA police department.



Lieutenant Melissa Desmarais from Palm Springs Police Department · 1h ago

On 2/5/17 at approximately 2:40 PM, PSPD officers were dispatched to the 1800 block of Smoke Tree Lane in Palm Springs regarding a dog locked in a vehicle.

When officers arrived they were met by several people who immediately took officers to a locked car where a motionless dog was located inside the vehicle.

As the officers arrived on scene they were also met by the vehicle’s owner who immediately opened the vehicle. The officers learned that the dog had passed away. The temperature outside was 70 degrees F and the interior of the vehicle was well over 86 degrees. The animal was taken to a local emergency clinic and the animal’s body temperature registered to be 104 degrees.

It was determined the animal was left in a locked vehicle with no water for at least 3 hours and subsequently died of heat exhaustion.

The dog’s owner was arrested for 597.7(A) PC; Great Bodily Injury To Animal Left Unattended In Vehicle. He was booked in the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, CA.

Please see these safety tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association on leaving your animals in hot and not so hot vehicles.…
Our animals are precious. Please don’t take them for granted. Take precautions to keep them safe at all times.

Comments | 7

  • The distinction you note

    I’m glad to see your post Zippy. The distinction you note that dogs do not only “die in hot cars” is not generally discussed. I have seen locally that some dogs should not be locked in like that. A panting dog in a car is a good sign the dog is having a hard time in the vehicle. Moreover, it might be stressful for dogs to be left alone like that, which might be harmful as well.

  • Heatstroke

    “Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paw pads. If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number.”

  • Welcome Back!

    Nice to see you post, Zippy. And good to know you’re carrying on the fight.

  • Follow up on the above submission

    Because Brattleboro has been recognized for the town’s embrace of measures to protect dogs left unattended in vehicles, I like to keep you informed of the ongoing efforts, citing the above incident where a dog died on a perfectly beautiful 70F degree day.

    Kevin and I had 2,000 copies of a new post card that we designed printed for distribution around Palm Springs, CA. Today, the post card, which is printed in both English and Spanish, was distributed electronically to 7,221 residents in South Palm Springs. It has received enthusiastic reception and people are moved to assist in distribution. I may even don my Brattleboro costume again!

    I have submitted an image of the front of the post card to ibrattleboro for anyone interested. The back of the post card is white with red text, printed in Spanish.

  • Good message

    Kudos to Zippy for protecting our four-legged friends.

    • Thanks everyone!

      Thanks everyone!

      The ongoing support on this issue is so appreciated. The other day a Brattleboro resident told me that there was another incident in Brattleboro that resulted in a collective bystander response that likely may have saved a dog and, hopefully, sent the message to the owner that people DO notice – and act.

      This is a problem that needs constant educational efforts, as dogs continue to die every year, all across the country. I am happy to have included the 70F dog death in the new post card. Several folks have responded to that point with dismay, and appreciation. Now, everywhere in the nation people can inform others that there is at least one documented death on record. Some years back, a child also died in a car after being left alone when the temperature was in the upper 60’s. Thanks all! And thanks for posting the image of the new post card, Chris!

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