STATESVILLE—Animal Control officials in Iredell County said dogs are being left in the heat at an alarming rate.
In the past two weeks, the shelter has seen a surge of calls for neglect with neighbors reporting dogs left outside with no protection from the heat. Two puppies from a litter of seven came to Animal Services and Control in Iredell County Tuesday.
At 8-weeks-old, they were left in the heat, barely surviving. The rest of the liter did not survive.
"What we're going to do now is make sure they're healthy, give them some time to recover a little bit and hopefully they'll find a new home," said Iredell County Animal Shelter veterinary technician Rachel Johansen.
Five other dogs were not as lucky. According to Iredell County Animal Control officials in the last two weeks there have been five heat-related deaths.
"A lot of people will leave their dogs outside and they will give them water at 8:00 in the morning, but what they don't realize is that water is gone by 10 or 11," said Johansen.
In all five cases the dogs were left outside at the owner's home for hours, and even days on end, with no water or shelter from the heat. Johansen says calls of similar cases have jumped 30 percent over the last few weeks, when heat indices are rising above 100 degrees.
"Neighbors are calling in concerned, see a dog down, no food, no water something like that out in the field," said Johansen.
Officials said it is best to avoid leaving a pet outside at all, only taking them out for short breaks.
"In these extreme temperatures it goes to whole different level," said Johansen.
The owners in each of the five cases will face animal cruelty charges. Animal control officials urge people to call 911 if anyone sees a domestic animal that appears to be left unattended and struggling in the heat.