Couple Blames Animal Services For Dog’s Death


Mary-Louise Raver blames Pinellas County Animal Services for her dog’s death.

Jasper, a Lhasa Apso, was nicknamed Houdini because he could wiggle out of his harness. Last week, he did it again.

Raver drove around for 45 minutes to find her missing dog without any luck. She found out that Pinellas County Animal Services had picked him up at 11 that morning. When Raver went to pick up Jasper at 5pm that same day, she said that workers were just taking him out of the truck. She said that Jasper looked overheated and tired. Animal Services told her that Jasper had been in the truck for 6 hours.

The next day Jasper got worse. Raver rushed him to the vet, and the vet said that Jasper suffered from heatstroke. She said that her dog was suffering so much that she had to put him down. She blames Animal Services for Jasper’s death.

From My Fox Tampa Bay:

Pinellas County Animal Services say that it’s not uncommon to leave pets in the truck all day. They say it is not cost effective for them to travel back and forth because of high gas prices and travel times.

Animal Services said they also train their officers to recognize if a pet is distressed.

“We’re all sensitive to that, and we want to make sure they don’t overheat. Gosh, this is the first problem we’ve had,” said Dr. Welch Agnew.

Their trucks also have ventilator fans and small windows to cool the animals.

Animal Services tell us with the circulation, their trucks stay only at hot as the outside temperature. But the temperatures don’t dramatically rise like many of our cars.

Jasper’s owners don’t believe it. They say Animal Services is always warning people not to leave dogs in cars and they didn’t follow their own advice.

They’re asking Animal Services to reimburse them for their vet costs and the price of Jasper. He was a pedigree and cost $600.

They have filed a formal complaint and Animal Services is looking into it.

16 Responses to “Couple Blames Animal Services For Dog’s Death”

  1. wescott20 says:

    The last thing any Animal Services division cares about is the welfare of animals. This poor family are victims of officially entrenched indifference and incompetence.

  2. ellie says:

    Maybe the couple should blame themselves. Clearly they knew their dog was an escape artist–doesn’t that mean they should have taken extra precautions? It’s very sad that the dog suffered, but it’s the family’s responsibility to keep him safe and secure in the first place. If they had, he never would have been picked up by animal services.

  3. Roberto P. says:

    Even if the family should have taken extra precautions, no animal control officer should ever, under any circumstances, leave an animal in a hot truck. We would get busted for animal cruelty if we did it. Please, don’t blame a family for a mistake when animal control was absolutely criminal in what they did.

  4. mary says:

    ellie, how cold can u be. My God!!!!!!! my dogs can get out of their harness no matter how tight i’s not this couples fault the poor dog died it was left in a hot hot hot truck in the fla heat .

  5. vida says:

    Leaving a dog in a truck for six hours in the heat is not the kind of behavior that should be tolerated from anyone, let alone animal control.
    How horrible for the poor thing, and his people. And I’m sure they are feeling guilty enough, wishing that somehow they’d done something different. Accidents happen and pets get loose but deliberitely leaving a dog in the truck for that long is no accident.

  6. Moonbeam says:

    Dogs escape - even with the best of plans. This is a tragic situation and animal control should be fined and their cruel habits changed - their behavior is totally unacceptable.

    These animal control nazis think what they do with the animals is fine - well all is not well in the animal control world.

    On another note, if I had a dog that would wiggle out of its harness, I would use two leashes, one around a neck collar and the other on the harness - one needs to be so careful. I always walk my dogs with two leashes, one on the choke chain, I own big dogs, and the other on their leather collar. I also use a harness and do the same thing. It is easy to manage two leashes per dog.

    I have double gates on my yard to prevent escapes but one day for some reason the gates were left unlocked - tired at night and forgot to lock both after watering the yard and came in through the garage leaving the front gates open. Two Dobermans escaped in the wee hours of the early morning. I was watching it happen and ran after them. So accidents just happen.

    I feel so sorry for the loss of their sweet pet. I hope they sue!

  7. Stefani says:

    I agree with Roberto. Although the owners should take the best precautions possible, they already seem to have taken one: A harness, instead of a collar. That is the first step I would take if my dog wriggled out of a collar, would be switch to a harness. Maybe, next them, they will go to double harnessing or something.


    in spite of the best precautions, SOME pets are going to wriggle free from their yards/leashes/homes/etc. And when Animal Services is called upon to pick up a stray, they owe it to the community to ensure that the animal makes it safely back to the shelter to give the owner the statutory time to look for lost and found. They should not be languishing in a hot truck all day. Clearly, systems need to be looked at.

    The best owners can lose a pet. I had a terrifying incident with a fairly new kitty, who I got at hte age of 8 weeks. When he was about 6 months old, I got up in the morning to see that he was sitting on the cat perch looking out hte kitchen window. The window was open because it was a beautiful night, but of course there is a screen. Somehow, he got spooked by me (I just said good morning and he looked like he had seen a ghost! This is the cat that was nuzzling on me the night before!) and jumped up in the air, catapulting against the screen, which popped right out, and he popped right out the window!

    I was very lucky to get him back inside, it was trash day and the noisy scary trucks were on their way.

    It was a FREAK incident which could have happened to anyone. Of course, I’ve duct-taped my screen since then. From teh outside.

  8. mittens says:

    of course if you left your dog in the hot car for 6 hours at the mall, they’d drag you off in hand cuffs but it’s ok for agents of the government to do the exact same thing with impunity.

  9. Lynn says:

    So, aren’t there any laws or regulations regarding the length of time [or temperature] a pet can be in one of these trucks?

    Shall we all call our local shelters and find out just what the policies are and publish the results here?

  10. Rose says:

    This county is in Florida. How many other pets have they injured and murdered? Shame on them, they should know better. Most people put their cold groceries in coolers just to drive home from grocery store in summer… 6 hours? Sad, so sad.

  11. Vicki T says:

    I agree with Mary: Ellie, how cold can you be? Regardless of how the dog got loose, animal control should protect the animals in their custody and that doesn’t include leaving them in a truck all day. The sunshine and humidity in Florida in the summertime is brutal. Why aren’t their truck’s animal compartments air-conditioned, as are many other agencies trucks?

  12. ellie says:

    The article says the dog was easily able to slip out of the harness. His people knew that–hence the nickname Houdini. It wasn’t a first time thing, but a known problem with this dog. His people had the the primary responsibility here.

    If the dog had escaped and been hit by a passing motorist, would that be primarily the motorist’s fault? Or the fault of the people who didn’t take the precautions to keep their pet safe?

    OK, it’s cold. But that dog’s people let him down.

  13. HighNote says:

    Animal control have a responsibility too! They are to pick up the loose pets not over heat them. It makes no difference how this dog got free, the animal control had a responsibility to the care of the animal. Why would they leave this poor dog in their vehicle for six hours anyway? There are usually only eight hours in a working day and surely they do not keep all of the animals in the vehicle all day long!
    they fine owners for mistreatment of animals so this place should certainly be fined!

  14. Furball Mom says:

    Living in the desert, in Palm Springs, California, it makes me wonder how many dogs have been lost to heat….our temps can soar to 117 or above on any given day of the summer. It seems to me that these cages SHOULD be air conditioned! You can rest assured that the guys doing the round-ups of loose dogs have a/c’s truck cabs!

  15. sina says:

    I agree with you ellie. The dog’s people let him down.

    Is it criminal that animal control left the dog in such conditions? Yes. Is it tragic that the dog died? Yes.

    That does not absolve the owner of the RESPONSIBILITY to take whatever measures they can since they KNEW their dog could get off of his harness. I guess they never bothered to train the dog to heel or come when he’s called either.

  16. Ann says:

    Sina and Ellie,Petowners are not perfect they make mistakes they can’t watch their pets 24 hours a day anymore then parents can watch their children 24 hours a day. The only ones responsible for the dog’s death were the so called animal control officers who left this poor little dog to suffer untold agony in a hot truck for 6 hours.

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