An English bulldog left on an apartment balcony in Bellevue with food and water was found dead a few hours later by Animal Control officers, according to the Nebraska Humane Society.
Animal Control went to the Chateau Apartments complex near Harvell Drive and Galvin Road at 12:50 p.m. Monday after receiving a call that there was a dog "in distress on a balcony of an apartment," where they found a deceased English bulldog and no one at the residence, the NHS press release states.
NHS veterinarians examined the animal and determine the death was consistent with signs of heatstroke, the release states.
"When the call came out, I believe it was 95 degrees, with a feel-like temperature of 99 degrees, with high humidity and high dew points. It was the perfect storm for this poor dog to endure terrible conditions on this balcony," said Mark Langan, vice-president of field operations with NHS.
Owners later said in an interview with officials that the 16-month-old dog had been left on the deck and in direct sunlight since 11:30 a.m. Monday. Animal Control officers said they found a bowl of food and water on the deck, the release states.
"This particular dog, an English bulldog, of all breeds of dogs cannot be in direct sunlight," said Langan. "This dog had the snubby nose. They have trouble breathing anyway, so this poor dog endured a terrible death being subjected to being in that balcony in direct sunlight."
Neighbors told 3 News Now they didn't believe the owners left the dog out on the balcony with malicious intent, saying they believe the dog was well cared for and called the death an accident.
Douglas County PETA offered these warning signs of a dog in distress: "If you see dogs showing any symptoms of heatstroke—including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, or lack of appetite or coordination, get them into the shade immediately and lower their body temperature by providing them with water, applying a cold towel to their head and chest, or immersing them in tepid — not ice-cold — water. Then immediately call a veterinarian."
"When dogs' long tongues hang out, it means that they're uncomfortable, even in danger," the PETA press release states.
NHS did not cite the owners, but will continue their investigation to determine whether any misdemeanor or felony charges apply, the NHS release states.
NHS suggests bringing pets indoors during a heat wave. In addition, PETA officials also warn to keep pets out of hot cars — even for a short time — and off of hot pavement, sharing the following safety tips for animals during hot weather:
- Keep dogs indoors. Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through their footpads and cool themselves by panting. Soaring temperatures can cause heat stress, injury, or death.
- Provide water and shade. When outside, animals must have access to fresh water and ample shade, and the shifting sun needs to be taken into account. Even brief periods of direct exposure to the sun can have life-threatening consequences.
- Avoid hot pavement. When outdoor temperatures reach the 1980s, asphalt temperatures can reach 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, and permanent damage, leading to scarring on dogs' paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk on grass whenever possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day.
- Walk — don't run. In very hot, humid weather, never exercise dogs by biking and making them run alongside you or by running them while you jog. Dogs will collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them.
- Avoid hot cars. Never leave an animal in a parked car in warm weather — even just briefly and with the windows partially rolled down. A dog trapped inside a hot car can succumb to heatstroke within minutes — even if the car isn't parked in direct sunlight.
- Never transport animals in the bed of a pickup truck. This practice is dangerous — and illegal in many cities and states — because animals can be catapulted out of a truck bed on a sudden stop or strangled if they jump out while they're tethered.
- Stay alert and save a life. Keep an eye on all outdoor animals. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you see an animal in distress, provide him or her with water for immediate relief and contact humane authorities right away.