BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL)—A chained dog with no food or water died earlier this week because of the heat.
Monday, Bristol Virginia Police Officer Mike Gross responded to a business to investigate a complaint that a dog was chained at a nearby residence.
Officer Gross investigated the home on Lancaster Street where he found a two year old basset hound dead in the backyard.
Sgt. Steve Crawford said they are still investigating the case.
“We assume it was the heat because it was so hot that day, and it’s that time of year,” he said. “It’s what happens to animals when you don’t take care of them….but there could have been something medically wrong with the dog, so we have to determine all of that.”
The report states the owner said she checked on the dog 15 minutes before the officer arrived on scene.
The dog was taken to a vet, and the Bristol Virginia Police department contacted the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office. The case will be forwarded to the Bristol animal control officer.
Sgt. Crawford said depending on the circumstances, the owners could be charged.
“If a dog is not provided food, water or proper shelter, and it survives, the owner can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor,” he said. “But if the dog dies as a result… it’s a class 6 felony.”
Dr. Robynne Ferguson with Ferguson Animal Hospital in Bristol, Tennessee said dogs can reach critical levels of body temperature in just 10 minutes.
“If they are in the sun, and they can’t get out of it, under a tree, under a dog house…then very quickly, 10 to 15 minutes they are going to succumb to it,” she said.
Dr. Ferguson said dog owners need to be aware of the signs that your animal could be overheating
“Starting to pant, starting to act confused, starting to be disoriented, not able to walk… all of those are signs,” she said.
She also added if a dog does look like it is overheating, to bring it to a vet immediately.
As the investigation continues, the Bristol Virginia Police department wants to remind pet owners to be responsible.
“If you are going to have an animal, you need to care for it,” said Crawford. “Make sure in the heat like this they have water, food and shelter.”
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