Although the spring weather has been relatively mild in North Florida, even temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s are enough to cause heat exhaustion and death to an animal left inside a parked car.
Such was the case on Saturday when a North Carolina man was arrested on animal cruelty charges after leaving his dog locked inside of his truck for several hours in the parking lot of the pet-friendly hotel where he was staying.
According to an arrest report, witnesses found a dog in distress in the topper-covered bed of Willard Allen Swart’s truck parked outside of the pet-friendly Best Western hotel in Yulee, Florida. The window of the topper was cracked about three inches and there was no water in the dog’s bowls.
The Labrador retriever was “vomiting and seizing” when witnesses removed him from the truck and tried to cool him down with ice and water.
The dog was rushed to a nearby animal hospital where, after suffering the effects of severe heat exhaustion, his organs began failing and, unable to survive the trauma, he was euthanized.
When Swart returned to the hotel around 8pm, he told police he knew he would be gone for several hours and had left water for the dog. He was aware that the hotel was pet friendly, but had opted to leave his dog in the parked truck instead.
Air temperatures in the parking lot were around 80-degrees, but it’s estimated that temperatures inside the truck bed were well into 100 to 120-degrees.