A Bronx man has been charged with animal cruelty for leaving his seven-pound Maltese in a van that reached 140 degrees while parked in the scorching sun while he went swimming at a state park on Monday.
According to officials at the of Westchester’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Heriberto Palacio visited Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown Heights, NY accompanied by two other individuals and the Maltese.
According to Chief of the Westchester SPCA Ken Ross, Palacio and two others wanted to cool off in the pool, where dogs are not allowed before going to the picnic area, where dogs are allowed.
Chief Ross said, “Ten minutes is never ten minutes, if you can’t take the dog with you, then leave the dog at home were its cool and the animal can find cool areas.”
According to Palacio, he cracked open two windows about two inches. He then tied the tiny pooch to a hand truck in a cluttered work van that had no insulation which meant the vans metal began to grow warmer the dog’s paws would begin burn.
Chief Ross noted that the temperature inside a vehicle could range from 30 – 40 degrees from the temperature outside. So, as the temperature outside the van rose to 95 degrees, the temperature inside the van skyrocketed to 140 degrees.
A park patron noticed the distressed dog and notified park officials who immediately called the SPCA. The Westchester SPCA arrived to find the white Maltese laying down and struggling to breath.
The police managed to break into the vehicle and removed the dog that at that point convulsing, officials said. The pooch was immediately moved to the shade and given water that the animal could not drink. A report from the Westchester SPCA, “The animal immediately went stiff and after being removed and subsequently expired.”
Ross said, “The dog was basically cooked, as heat rises organs fail and brain damage occurs.”
Palacio returned to the vehicle to see the officers jostling with the Maltese. The 41-year-old asked police, “Is my dog OK?”
The Bronx man was placed under arrest and charged with animal cruelty. Palacio contended, “There should have been a public service announcement, someone should have warned us, Ross noted.
Ross said that when the temperature rises the SPCA gets an average of 10 – 15 calls a day about dogs left in cars.
Palacio will be arraigned in Yorktown on July 22nd, 2010.
The ASPCA has tips for helping you keep your animal cool, which urges pet owners to never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. The website noted that Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital said, "On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time—even with the windows open—which could lead to fatal heat stroke."
To report cruelty to animals in New York City please contact the ASPCA at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450. All calls are kept confidential.