Dalmatian Dies of Heat Stroke

Dalmatian Dies of Heat Stroke

We all know better than to leave kids in a car alone. During a heat advisory, it’s especially important to not even be in the car for that long. But a woman from my hometown left not one dog, but eight, in a car overnight smack in the middle of a head advisory we’ve had all week.

I’m telling you, folks, it’s been hot. And I wouldn’t leave my kids’ Littlest Pet Shop puppies, let alone real ones, in the car. Hell, they’d probably melt.

Seven of the eight dogs died of heatstroke. All were gorgeous purebred show dogs, including an Akita, a Dalmatian, a malamute, and three golden retrievers. Not that the tragedy would have been any less affecting if the dogs had been mutts with mange, but you’d think that with dogs like these, a caregiver would have a vested interest in, I don’t know, keeping them alive?

The eighth dog, who also suffered ill health affects from the heat, is recovering.

The caregiver, Mary Wild, 24, was hired by the dogs’ owner to be their handler during a dog show in Iowa. After the show, she came home at 1:00 AM, left all of the dogs—and these are big dogs, people, some with pretty thick coats—in the van, and went inside to bed.

Now I know a drive from Iowa to Missouri is a long one, and probably isn’t necessarily an easy one accompanied by eight canine companions, either. But you’ve got to be wondering what Wild was thinking when it came to leaving eight big dogs together in a van overnight in a heat advisory. I’ll clean up the poop in the morning? They can wait to get a drink tomorrow? A little heat won’t hurt them? Or above all else—the owners will never find out?

I’m sure she’s wishing she had just brought the dogs in now. Jefferson County Prosecutor Forrest Wegge is reviewing the case this week, and Wild could be charged with animal neglect or abuse. “Once we review the reports, we will decide if the facts fit either statute and will make charging decisions accordingly,” he said.

I think this is a clear case of neglect. I’m not saying that dogs are children, but they are certainly like children to many people, and they are definitely like children in that they are perfectly sentient beings completely dependent on their caregivers and at the mercy of the weather; and if a babysitter left a child in a car you know he or she would be charged.

What do you think? Should Wild face charges? Even if she does, a first offense in Missouri is simply a misdemeanor.