8 police dogs die after AC breaks down during 2-hour traffic delay

Harris Marley
Harris Marley

Global Courant

At least eight dogs died from heat-related injuries after an AC unit that was being used to keep them cool failed during a 2-hour traffic delay. 

The dogs that died were among 18 shepherds that were being transported to a K-9 training facility from O’Hare Airport to Michigan City, Indiana on Thursday, Lake Station police said. 

During the transport, the driver became stuck in a traffic jam and the AC unit failed. The temperature rose inside the vehicle, causing the canines to go into heat-related medical distress. 

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The driver wasn’t aware at first of the AC unit failure because the cargo area was separated. He only became aware of what was happening upon hearing the dogs barking. 

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In this photo provided by the Humane Society of Hobart, Ind., a dog suffering from heat-related injury is aided by a man inside the Road Ranger convenience store, in Lake Station, Ind., July 27, 2023.  (Jennifer Webber/Humane Society of Hobart, Ind. via AP)

The driver stopped the vehicle at the Road Ranger on Ripley Street and began removing the canines that were crated. 

Officials from the Lake Station Fire Department and EMS, as well as the Lake Station Police Department, responded to the scene. 

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Police said the response from both agencies was so “overwhelming” that civilians stopped to help where they could. 

“The scene was chaotic and took an emotional toll on all that were involved in trying to save as many canines as possible,” the Lake Station Police Department wrote in a press release. “Any loss of life is tragic and thoughts and prayers are with all those that were affected by this ‘freak event.’” 

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This photo provided by the Humane Society of Hobart, Ind., shows a cargo van, in Lake Station, Ind., in which dogs were being transported from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to a K-9 training facility in Michigan City, Ind., Thursday, July 27, 2023. (Jennifer Webber/Humane Society of Hobart, Ind. via AP)

After speaking with the driver involved, police determined that the incident was not an act of animal cruelty or neglect, but a mechanical failure of the AC unit that was being used in the cargo area. 

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The incident came amid a record-breaking heatwave that has walloped the United States in recent weeks. Scientists have calculated that July will be the hottest month worldwide on record. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Bradford Betz is a Fox News Digital breaking reporter covering crime, political issues, and much more. 

8 police dogs die after AC breaks down during 2-hour traffic delay

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