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Report: Heat-Related Deaths of Dogs and Cats Double From

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For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2023

Contact:
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – A crisis of hot weather–related deaths of dogs and cats is occurring nationwide, as PETA has tracked reports of 123 deaths already this summer—far surpassing the 57 heat-related death reports last year or those of any other year on record. The group points out that the actual number of dogs and cats who have died from extreme heat in 2023 is likely much higher, as most cases go unreported.

PETA’s report about deaths around the country includes at least eight dogs who were headed to a K-9 training facility in Indiana before succumbing to heat exhaustion inside an unventilated box truck. In Hudson, Florida, two dogs died after being left in a car in a Walmart parking lot for an hour. In Laredo, Texas, a dog died after being tied to an outdoor grill in the heat. And in Houston, 12 cats and one dog were found dead after the animals were left in a vacant apartment during a heat wave. The group notes that dogs rely on panting to shed body heat and that once their internal temperature hits 105, they’ll die from multisystem organ failure.

“The number of animals suffering and dying after being confined to stifling spaces or helplessly chained with no way to escape the heat is out of control,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “As scorching temperatures become the new normal, PETA is urging everyone to keep their animals safe indoors and to intervene in behalf of any animal who is in danger from extreme heat.”

PETA urges people to be on the lookout for animals who are in need of assistance, including those who may be experiencing heatstroke symptoms, and advises everyone to do the following:

  • Put palm to pavement. Touch the pavement before walks to ensure that it won’t burn dogs’ footpads. In hot weather, walk dogs only in the shade, on earth, or on grass.
  • Keep dogs inside. Soaring temperatures can cause heat stress and physical injuries—including brain damage—and can result in death.Be alert to a long, curled-up tongue and heavy panting, as dogs can’t sweat as humans can and heat builds up inside their bodies.
  • Avoid leaving animals in parked cars. Never leave a dog inside a parked car in warm weather, even for short periods and even if the windows are slightly open. On a mild 70-degree day, the temperature inside a car can climb rapidly, reaching a dangerous 99 degrees. On a 90-degree day, interior car temperatures can reach 109 degrees in just 10 minutes. A dog trapped inside a car can succumb to heatstroke within minutes—even if the car isn’t parked in direct sunlight. 

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.




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