Fourteen dogs in total – 13 Golden retrievers and one Brittany spaniel – were found dead in the back of a box truck after their handler left them unattended in the air conditioned truck parked outside of a hotel while she went inside to take a nap.
The incident occurred in Roseland, Indiana, prior to the Michiana Kennel Club AKC Dog Show held at St. Joseph County Fairgrounds over the weekend. All 14 dogs were to be a part of the show.
The handler, Cortney Corral of Lakesyde Kennels and Handling out of Ohio, parked the box truck near her room at the Quality Inn and went inside to take a nap before heading to the fairgrounds. The kennel area of the box truck was equipped with an air conditioning unit for the dogs and was powered via an extension cord plugged into an outlet on an exterior building of the hotel. When she awoke from her nap two hours later, all 14 dogs were dead.
The heat index in Indiana that day was well over 100-degrees. All 14 dogs died from apparent heat exhaustion inside the truck.
Six of the dogs belonged to Corral and another 8 belonged to other owners that had entrusted her with their care.
Police determined that the hotel’s outlet and extension cord were functioning properly, but that a circuit breaker inside the truck tripped, causing the air conditioning unit to stop working. The use of similar air conditioned box trucks to house multiple dogs is not uncommon at dog shows.
At this time, the incident is being called a tragic and unfortunate accident. While no charges are expected to be filed, an investigation and necropsies are being performed by the St. Joseph County Humane Society.