Update: Dog trapped on hot balcony without water dies, Humane Society outraged

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jun 25, 2014

UPDATE: The dog, Bergen, rescued from a hot balcony without water Wednesday died overnight.

Now the Humane Society of Utah is calling for felony charges in the German Shepherd's death.

The group is asking prosecutors seek the maximum penalties allowed against the dog's owner.

The Humane Society said it believes Bergen's death meets the criteria for torture as defined in Utah's criminal code.

The code states "causing or inflicting extreme physical pain to an animal in an especially heinous,
atrocious, cruel or exceptionally depraved manner” constitutes animal cruelty
punishable by as much as five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Humane Society of Utah Executive Director Gene Baierschmidt said, “There must be  justice for Bergen and a message must be sent to our community that this type of  treatment of animals simply will not be tolerated.”

See the video below for more comments form the Humane Society as well as the dog's previous owner.

SALT LAKE CITY -- A resident in the Salt Lake Avenues filmed Salt Lake City firefighters rescuing a dog that was barely responding after it was left on a hot balcony.

Salt Lake County Animal Services told FOX 13 News the dog’s owner was out of town and “Bergan” the German Shepard was left with a friend.

But just before 3 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters, animal control officers and neighbors went into rescue mode at 315 E. 4th Avenue.

The neighbor's video shows firefighters using a ladder to climb to the third-story balcony, where they found the pet with a body temperature of  108 degrees.

Animal control officers said the sliding glass door was closed and there was no water in sight.

It's unclear how long Bergan had been on the balcony but the neighbor worries it may have been several hours.

"The dog was just gnawing on the metal, he was trying to get up a bit but kept collapsing so I went and grabbed a ladder and we started throwing jugs of water up," said neighbor Jordan Dastrup, who filmed the rescue.

Neighbors then started spraying the exhausted pooch as firefighters worked to gain access to the apartment. Cameras rolled as rescue crews hauled the pet out of the building. Bergan appeared barely responsive.

"They didn't say conscious but exhausted, just completely exhausted,” Dastrup said.

Rescue crews took the pooch to an emergency vet hospital.

Animal control officers said it's a disturbing reminder to make sure your pet has enough water.

This is the second serious incident this week involving dehydrated dogs.

On Tuesday, one dog died and another was treated after Salt Lake firefighters carried dehydrated pets off a trail 2 to 3 miles above the University of Utah.

Firefighters said a hiker who was caring for their friend’s dogs simply didn't bring enough water.

Animal control officials said this latest incident could result in an animal cruelty charge, which ranges from a misdemeanor to felony.

No citations have been issued at this point, but it’s a possibility in what remains an open investigation.

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