Multiple police K9 dogs die from heat in Indiana after air condition unit fails

Multiple police dogs being transported from the Chicago area to Indiana died after the air conditioning unit in a cargo area where they were being held failed.

Nearly 20 German shepherds were being transported from O’Hare International Airport when the driver of the vehicle was caught in a two-hour traffic delay, according to police in Lake Station, Indiana.

The air conditioning in the unit where the dogs were being held failed, resulting in high temperatures that caused some of the dogs to suffer heat-related medical conditions.

National Weather Service data showed that highs in the area reached 91F the day of the incident.

The dogs began barking, which the driver heard after he stopped at a convenience store. He entered the cargo area of the vehicle and found the dogs in distress inside their crates.

Lake Station police and fire responded to the scene. Officers noted that the experience “took an emotional toll on all that were involved in trying to save as many canines as possible.”

Jenny Webber, the executive director of the Humane Society of Hobart, Indiana, called the incident “truly devastating,” according to CBS News.

She was present at the scene and said that protocol was not followed in the transport of the animals.

“I don’t think any veterinarian would’ve signed off on their health certificate given the temperature and the exposure that those pets would’ve been under,” she told CBS News. “Now I don’t, however, I’m not even quite sure if they had any of the paperwork or any of the documentation they should’ve had.”

This photo provided by the Humane Society of Hobart, Ind., shows a cargo van, in Lake Station, Ind., in which dogs were being transported from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to a K-9 training facility in Michigan City, Ind., Thursday, July 27, 2023.


Ms Webber told the New York Times that “it’s not safe to travel with animals when temperatures are that high.”

She confirmed that four were taken to a nearby animal clinic, and that at least 10 of them died.

It is unclear exactly how many dogs have died.

“The driver left with four and the rest were decreased, and he left deceased animals and four live animals that I recommended be hospitalised immediately,” she said.

She said some of the dogs had clearly experienced heat stroke, and noted that some were vomiting or suffering from diarrhea.

Police have maintained that the incident was not the result of neglect or cruelty, but a mechanical failure of the air conditioning unit.

Ms Webber said she is waiting for answers from the police department.

“It’s very confusing,” she said. “It’s very disheartening, and I would like a call from the chief of police immediately.”

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