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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.
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.