Dog Abuse

Dog Dies After 3 Hours in Parked Car with Air Conditioner Running

A Nebraska family learned the hard way that when the summer sun is beating down on a parked car, even leaving the air conditioner on doesn’t always provide a safe place for pets.

News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

A German Shepherd died inside a parked SUV while her owners enjoyed lunch and drinks just steps away inside Omaha, Nebraska restaurant DJ’s Dugout.

Before parking the SUV and going inside the restaurant, the out-of-town visitors placed their German shepherd inside a plastic travel kennel in the rear of the vehicle and turned on the air conditioning to keep her cool.

Sadly, despite being left to cool the vehicle, the air conditioner did not provide enough air flow or ventilation during the couple’s three hour lunch. The kennel was placed next to a rear window and the vehicle was parked in full sun.

At about 3:00pm, the couple went outside to leave and discovered the dog soaking wet in her kennel and not breathing. The man rushed inside the restaurant begging for water and ice for the dog and a server, who is also a nurse, began chest compressions hoping to revive the dog.

According to the National Weather Service, outside temperatures were about 87-degrees, with a heat index of 90.

What’s especially disappointing, Evelyn Birkel, their server told the Omaha World-Herald, is that DJ’s Dugout offers a dog-friendly patio for guests traveling with their pets.

“If people want to bring their dogs to our patio, they are welcome to do so, so that we can avoid situations like this,” she said. “We’ve brought bowls of water out for dogs, we are more than happy to do that.”

Responders were unable to revive the dog and she died as a result of heat exhaustion. The couple were not ticketed or charged because, Nebraska Humane Society officials said, they had taken precautions they thought were appropriate for the dog’s safety.

“They were emotionally distraught enough as it was. The animal control officer didn’t feel like a citation would serve a purpose,” Mark Langan of the Nebraska Humane Society said.

Please remember, in extreme heat, even a running air conditioner does not provide adequate cooling and ventilation over an extended period of time. If you can’t take your dog inside with you, leave them at home.



  1. Jill

    Jul 20, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    What a lot of flamers here! What right have you all to judge someone who made a mistake that cost them dearly? If any one of you haven’t sinned (made a mistake) I’d be hard pressed to believe it. Even just ONE small sin will get you judged in kind tenfold for lacking in compassion for someone who suffered a loss! shame on you all. Self righteous a**holes!

    • Ron

      Aug 6, 2018 at 10:42 pm

      Bill get a life. There has been so much discussion about not leaving a animal in your car. These people should be arrested and locked up in a cell at 99 degrees. You are missing some brain cells to post your shit!!!!

  2. JM

    Jul 20, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Humans are assholes…how important was your friggin lunch? Pull your heads out of your asses and start caring for the animals you chose to bring into your family! They aren’t disposable objects…Jesus, why does this even need to be said???

  3. Lisa

    Jul 18, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Animal creuity they caused the dogs death by neglect.

  4. Brenda B.

    Jul 17, 2018 at 10:15 am

    That is a nightmare. Really, a three hour lunch? Did they check on their dog? Even with air conditioning, any car can stall. There is just no excuse good enough after a pet dies, suffering all the time before.

  5. jbaratta

    Jul 17, 2018 at 2:31 am

    its abuse. they are liars. no body leaves their air conditioner on that long!!! and animal control bought this. than he or she should be charged with a death of a domestic pet and all of them should do some serious time!

    This horrific and its a slow painful death should be some sort of education. Irresponsible and careless owners fon’t give a hoot about education. IT HAPPENS EVERY YEAR. some dumb f ,than another, and another. I like to look this couple straight in the face and than grab them with my bare hands. THIS DOG SUFFERED A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH!! they just got away with murder.

    ya know usually my comments are less than 5 words at most but THIS HITS HONE!!!

    • Robert

      Jul 17, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      “its abuse. they are liars. no body leaves their air conditioner on that long!!!” Why wouldn’t someone who wanted to keep their dog cool leave on the AC for that long?

    • Jack Mehoff

      Jul 18, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Relax Francis. It’s just a dog. It’s not a person.

      • JM

        Jul 20, 2018 at 1:14 am

        Fuck you for that stupid comment. This dogs life was just as important as any humans…anyone who thinks otherwise is a special asshole lacking compassion.

      • Jg

        Jul 28, 2018 at 5:09 pm

        Relax Jack! You obviously have no compassion! Wanna sit in my car for 3 hours in the heat?

    • Ashley

      Jul 18, 2018 at 11:30 pm

      Mines on 24/7 but I am in a semi … but I’ve sat in my car with the ac one for that long before … my point is people do leave the ac for that long that being said I don’t even leave my dogs alone in my semi without checking on them minimum every hour

      But they thought leaving the ac on would be enough not everyone realizes that if u aren’t right in front of the vents the airflow sux and still gets hot in the back of any vehicle

    • Karen

      Jul 20, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      My sentiments exactly!

  6. Delailah

    Jul 16, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    What on earth were they thinking? i certainly cannot believe that they got away just like that. They are liable for their dogs death. It may be an accident but still stupidity should not save you from any legal apprehension. Cause if you are reaponsible and if you truly care about your furbaby, you will not leave them alone for more than an hour, especially in the car and in the cage wven if the aircon is on yet car is under the sun, i mean, did you just leave your head athome when you two left for a good food whatever?!?!

  7. Frank

    Jul 16, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    why did this person leave the dog in the vehicle, was the damn thing running all three hours because it wont work like air conditioner if motor turned off only the air will circulate. motor has to be running to make cool or cold air

  8. Daisy Miller

    Jul 14, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Totally agree. I live where this happened and have had a hard time dealing with the fact that the owners clearly “got away with murder”

    • KEC

      Jul 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Park the car in shade, if possible, leave windows open just enough for airflow and make your visit to the rest room as quickly as possible. Maybe also leave a bowl of water before you use the rest room.

  9. casey cunningham

    Jul 13, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Question: What do people traveling solo on a road trip do when they need to use the bathroom? All the rest areas ban dogs in the building and even if you get off the highway, most establishments will not allow dogs in their buildings.

    • Keri

      Jul 14, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Rest stops

      • Linda

        Jul 16, 2018 at 3:55 pm

        When is the last time you travelled out of state with a pet? Rest stops have signs specifically prohibiting dogs from going in the buildings. That being said, most rest stops will have at least some shade to park in and an average bathroom stop shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. The air conditioning should be adequate for that amount of time… However I do seriously wonder why lunch took 3 HOURS and they didn’t bother to check on the dog once during that time.

        • Shelley McCrae

          Jul 21, 2018 at 1:07 am


    • Keri

      Jul 14, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      Rest stops

    • Lani

      Jul 16, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      But 3 hours?? Come on and they didn’t even think to go check on the dog? I have dogs and would take them to the corner store and be in there 5 minutes. These owners were negligent in not checking on the dog, and to be honest, they should not have gone to lunch for 3 freaking hours with the dog in there especially a plastic crate! Let the dog sit in the front with the ac vent blowing directly on them who cares the fur will get on the seats! I don’t feel any remorse for these people, this is something they will live with for the rest of their lives, that was a selfish thing to do to the poor pup!

    • Annette

      Jul 17, 2018 at 2:14 am

      I have used rest area bathrooms and taken my Rottweiler in with me on leash. If we/I stop for food I take her out for a walk/potty/water break then get the food to go.

  10. casey cunningham

    Jul 13, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Question: What do people traveling solo on a road trip do when they need to use the bathroom? All the rest areas ban dogs in the building and even if you get off the highway, most establishments will not allow dogs in their buildings. !


    Jul 12, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    I am both sad and mad. However, this a great reminder for me and others that dogs (and other pets, children, elderly, and all beings) should not be left in the car, especially if it’s warm/hot, no matter what, even if you think, “I’ll only be in there for a minute.” I am guilty of doing that, but of course, with all windows rolled way down, in the shade, but now, I don’t think I will even do that. I’ll ask if I can bring the dog in, and if not, I’ll just not go. Life is fragile, and in certain conditions, death comes quick. We are not invincible, we all die eventually, but let’s not let anyone die like this.

  12. jr

    Jul 12, 2018 at 7:43 am

    The couple ‘say’ the AC was on. Sure they did. A parked car with the engine running for 3 hours by itself. Not likely.

    • Linda

      Jul 16, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      Honestly, in my vehicle, the AC works quite well when I’m driving… HOWEVER, I also know that when I stop and idle, it doesn’t work well at all. If a person doesn’t usually sit and idle inside their car, they may not know this. I do wonder why they are taking 3 hours for lunch and not checking on their dog at LEAST every hour… Preferably every 15-20 minutes. I have a temperature monitor for my vehicle that I use to check on the safety of my dogs if I’m not able to go check on them myself… And I travel in an RV. If I have to park for more than a few minutes, the generator is on and the overhead air is running. But I still check my temp monitor every few minutes just to be sure. for more info on the temp monitor I use.

  13. Michele Wesselman

    Jul 11, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    I suspect it was just the fan running. Unless the car is actually running, it will only turn the fan on when on auxiliary, no cooling.

  14. Stacy

    Jul 11, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    The dog owners should face criminal charges and serve jail time. Who spends 3 hours eating lunch? If your dog is in the car get takeout.

    • Daisy

      Jul 14, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Totally agree. I live where this happened and have had a hard time dealing with the fact that the owners clearly “got away with murder”

      • Danny

        Jul 18, 2018 at 2:01 pm

        By definition, “murder” is the killing of another human being, so the couple did not “murder” their dog. You keep repeating and misusing the term throughout this comment section.

        • jbaratta

          Jul 19, 2018 at 11:26 pm

          so genius what do you call this than??? were you in the van with the dying dog???

  15. Sd

    Jul 11, 2018 at 10:30 am

    I really feel for both the dog and the owners. I also would have thought that leaving the ac on would be enough, but having the dog in a kennel is like another mini car within the car, especially if the open side was facing a window. Hard way for them to learn this lesson. I agree with the compassion of the town not to cite them. They’re probably so very, very distraught.

    • j

      Jul 17, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      wtf is wrong with you??? they should do serious jail time PERIOD!! don’t mess with people’s heads and make a comment like that but if you actually think this way man you are one messed up MF!!!!!!

      • gtgt ftrgt

        Jul 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

        It’s not criminal. It’s just a dog!!

        • Woodley

          Jul 18, 2018 at 1:27 pm

          shut up, troll

        • jbaratta

          Jul 19, 2018 at 11:30 pm

          yeah you probably eat them anyways!!

  16. Laura

    Jul 11, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Sorry, I only feel sympathy for the poor pets put in this terrible situation. There is no reason for an animal to die bc it was left in a vehicle especially on a hot day, in a plastic kennel, with hardly any ventilation, and parked in the full sun The owners should have been ticketed. I hope they learned a lesson on how to care for a pet… Leave it home.

  17. DAN

    Jul 10, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Dogs don’t sweat, why was the dog “soaking wet” when they found her??

    • Brandy Arnold

      Jul 10, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      Reports didn’t specify, but it was likely excessive drool, urine, possibly vomit – all things that occur during heat exhaustion.

      • Valerie

        Jul 17, 2018 at 2:52 pm

        It was in a plastic crate. Just her breathing in a hot crate would cause the inside to become wet with condensation. Add to that, she probably vomited and urinated, probably drooled. My heart aches for what this poor dog went through.

    • Matt

      Jul 11, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      I agree ,I thought the same thing !! how could it be soaking wet they don’t sweat ?

    • MJ Preston

      Jul 12, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      From panting

      • Kay

        Jul 16, 2018 at 5:33 pm

        When a person or in this instance, an animal, passes away, all of their muscles that keeps “everything in” relaxes and allows bodily fluid to run out. It could’ve been urine or fluid from the stomach contents. I think when it gets to that point, it is not possible to resusitate – they have been passed for awhile.

    • Annette

      Jul 17, 2018 at 2:22 am

      Dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet. When the dog started to overheat it began to drool, this drool is like water, then he collapsed in said drool and when he passed away his bladder emptied.

    • Danny

      Jul 18, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      Dogs actually do sweat, not like humans but they sweat from a few areas nonetheless. And the person who wrote about condensation has no idea how condensation actually works.

    • ROCK

      Apr 19, 2019 at 3:31 am

      Absolutely correct Dan. In fact, having the A/C running doesn’t do a damned thing for the pups because of this fact. Air conditioning is nothing more than a comfort feature for humans. We perspiration in order to cool down and cool air especially blowing at our sweaty arms legs and faces IS what makes us feel more comfortable but if we’ve been sweating for a while we have to replenish our bodies water and salt. Dogs PANT. A/C does absolutely nothing for them but they still must replenish the water they are losing the entire time. Had theirs not have been in a carrier they would’ve also returned to their vehicles carpeting all ripped up pretty much destroyed from their pups digging it up trying to get to the cool metal floor, trying to help save their it’s life. Until his brain has literally cooked inside of his skull and he has absolutely nothing left. Way way past heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Completely brain dead.

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