Owner could face charges after dog left in hot car dies in Salt Lake City

Posted at 4:18 PM, Jun 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-05 20:04:28-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A dog died after being left inside a hot vehicle in Salt Lake City Saturday, and the owner of the animal could face charges in connection with the death.

A viewer reported a dog died inside a car in a parking lot in Sugar House, somewhere in the vicinity of 1100 East and 2100 South.

Callista Pearson of Salt Lake County Animal Services confirmed Sunday they responded to a call about an animal in a hot car around 2 p.m. Saturday.

The dog was unresponsive when they arrived. An officer removed the dog from the vehicle and took it to a veterinary clinic, where the animal was pronounced dead.

Pearson said the dog is a 15-month-old yellow lab. The dog's owner was inside a business in the area, and Pearson said the owner had last checked on the dog at 10 a.m., about four hours prior to Animal Control receiving the call.

Pearson said the investigation is still under way, but the owner could face misdemeanor or even felony charges once the case is complete.

When it's 95 degrees outside, Pearson says the temperature inside a vehicle can climb to 120 degrees or more in about six minutes. One car she measured showed a temperature of 135.5 degrees, even with a window cracked open.

What should you do if you see an unattended dog inside a vehicle?

"Go inside the business and ask them to call that license plate number and that owner, and ask them to have the owner come get the dog out of the car," Pearson said.

Pearson said a dog's tongue may turn bright red or almost purple when they are overheated, and she said they may stagger while walking. She said during this time of year people should resist the temptation to take their dog with them everywhere, as hot pavement and hot vehicles poses problems.

She also suggested grooming dogs to help reduce the amount of fur on their undercoat, as that can contribute to overheating.