Animal Control Checked On Dog In Car Three Times Before She Died

Queenie, a pit bull/Labrador mix, died in the back of a car in a vacant Sacramento parking lot earlier this month.

Reporting to a tip, an animal control officer checked on the dog on July 1 at 5:30pm. He reported that Queenie was alert, comfortable and not in immediate danger. He left a warning note on the car.

The next morning, officers checked on Queenie at 10 am and 12:30 pm. They said that she was not distressed and there was no reason to forcibly take her away from the car. They reported that the windows were cracked open and that there was a shade cover over the front window.

But when an officer returned to check on Queenie at 4:30 pm, the dog was dead. The city had reached a high of 93 degrees at 3:46 pm that afternoon. Animal control officers then left a note saying that they had removed the dog from the car.

Except the owner never called and didn’t even know that his dog had died — because he was in jail.

The man had been booked into jail on June 28 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. He said he had asked a sheriff’s deputy to allow him to free the dog, but he said that the deputy ignored him. The Sheriff’s Department said they have no record of him asking about his dog.

From Sacramento Bee: (registration required)

The director of Sacramento County’s Department of Animal Care and Regulation said that because of this incident, officers will be more proactive and will be pulling animals sooner from cars.

A state law enacted last year makes it illegal to leave a companion animal unattended in a motor vehicle in conditions that endanger its health or well-being.

The 2006 law also gives peace and animal control officers the authority to remove an animal from a vehicle “if the animal’s safety appears to be in immediate danger” and after “a reasonable effort” to locate the driver.

Claerbout [the director] said officers still rely on their judgment before taking action. Given the situation and the shelter’s protocols, she stood by their decision not to remove the dog from the car.

She said animals won’t always show visible signs of distress — heavy panting or weakness — from a heat illness, and that it’s easy to second-guess the officers.

But Sally Barron, who has two dogs, said animal control and sheriff’s deputies both may have played a role in Queenie’s death.

“They should have pulled the dog out in the morning,” Barron said.

She said animal control should have acted more quickly and, assuming Gray [Queenie’s owner] told the Sheriff’s Department, deputies should have notified animal control.

“They let that dog die,” Barron said.

17 Responses to “Animal Control Checked On Dog In Car Three Times Before She Died”

  1. Lynne says:

    Failure on so many fronts.

  2. Pukanuba says:

    I wonder if these animal control officers were trained by Duane-o…….it sounds as if they do their job about as well as the jerks in our gov’t agencies.

  3. 8tiggers says:

    This makes me sick =(

    What an awful way to go… and the authorities *all* failed in their duties. The poor dog was enclosed in a small area for over 3 days. If nothing else, you’d think animal control would notice the amount of feces/urine…

  4. NH says:

    Does anybody have a heart anymore? Any compasion? Anything? Perhaps if the dog were parked at Dunkin Donuts, these “officers” would have responded better. Ugh!

  5. wescott20 says:

    Yeah, well, Animal Control is worthless anyway…their priority is never to help animals…remember, they are the ones who always jump at the chance to kill an animal if it looks crosswise at someone.

  6. ann says:

    This wouldn’t have happened in VA Beach. Its a crime to leave an anmal in a locked vehicle. The animal would have been seized

  7. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    “The Sheriff’s Department said they have no record of him asking about his dog.”

    In other words, the deputy didn’t record anywhere that the deputy just left the dog to die. What a shock.

  8. Katie says:

    “the officers rely upon their judgement before taking action”, boy that sure says alot about their ability to think.. what has happened to our society -


  9. Captn' Carl says:

    Typical of today’s bureaucratic bungling. You see it everywhere. This has a very unfortunate and sad ending for the poor dog whose only part in this was as an unwilling victim!

    Of course, no one was responsible! This is the new American Way!

    Where was “”Big Brother” this time around with cameras and snooping equipment? This time all of that homeland security misappropriated pork may have actually done some good.

    America is turning into another third world country and a worthless, callous dung heap!

  10. Lynn says:

    Disgusting - all of it. Mostly on the part of Animal Control. They, of ALL people, should know better,

  11. Holly says:

    This is disgusting but unfortunately, not a surprise when it comes to animal services. Here in Canada, and I assume in most cities, pets are considered property. Any animal control officer I’ve met is “just doing their job” and won’t go out on a limb for any reason - including the life of a dog. And some of them are just typical city employees getting through thier day to get a paycheck - not real animal lovers, or they are completely desensitized from their jobs. It’s sad. When we stop viewing pets as property and start considering them to be of value, as in thier lives are of value, I don’t think that situations like this will change much. Unfortunately some of the people that I have known that have worked at the local humane society or at animal services have ignored treatments for sick pets because they are afraid of getting bit. Sad that these are supposed to be the compassionate ones. Somehow we need to work together to change the laws that state a pet is a piece of property, but rather a member of society that deserves care/help/respect. Respect life. It’s as simple as that. If that dog were a helpless child, the outcome would have been different. Why is a dog, or a cat not considered helpless in this situation?????? The city should be responsible for that and some sort of action should be taken. (But it won’t). Breaks my heart.

    Registered Animal Health Technologist

  12. Jeanie says:

    I live in Sacramento and this story has generated a lot of anger, especially directed toward the idiotic animal control officers.

  13. Trudy Jackson says:

    This is very sick, and the officer should be charged. Here where I live, they animal control usually just means death. they don’t get paid much. But they should do a good job. we have one so “strange” that when He brought some kittens to the vets to see if she could adopt them out, He had the cages stacked on top of each other, and the little ones in the bottom cages got their legs broke. so they had to be put down anyway. Makes Me sick!

  14. Sandy says:

    The animal control officer/s should have to do jail time and lose their job.

  15. pam says:

    where i live you can’t leave an animal in a vehicle…if someone calls the cops, animal control will remove it after the police break into your car. then you’re charged with animal cruelty, have to go to court, pay a fine, hope you get community service and not jail, suffer the embarrassment of reading about yourself in the local paper and pay to repair your car which the cops weren’t careful about breaking into since they were trying to save an animal’s life. not many people leave their animals in their vehicles around here…i don’t leave my dog in my truck unless someone is with him- winter or summer - because i’m afraid someone will steal him. he’s my baby.

  16. Laurie says:

    OMG!!! The gene-pool needs some serious chlorine! There are WAY TOO MANY stupid people walking around in positions of authority. This animal contol officer is a serious idiot and I can only hope that he never sleeps another peaceful night without seeing that dog’s face!

  17. kaefamily says:

    The law allows animal control and police officers to break a car’s window to rescue a dog left unattended in a vehicle regardless of the weather condition, esp. when the temperature is high. And this officer didn’t think that it was sufficient a cause to pull the dog out? I have never lived in Sacramento but, gosh, I KNOW it could get blistering. There are people, even dog owners, ignorant or not, who think that pet regulate their body temperatures just like humans! Often I see long hair dogs being walked/run in the 90 and 100 degree weather with their tongues hanging out and drools dripping!

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