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Buffalo Niagara heat wave claims dog’s life

The heat wave that has scorched Buffalo over the past few days has now claimed a life – that of a dog that was left outside tied to a garage, the SPCA Serving Erie County reported.

The dog, a pit bull mix, was tied up outside a house at 8 a.m. Wednesday, the owners told the SPCA. They checked on the dog at 10 a.m. and gave it water, but when they checked again at 1 p.m., the dog was dead. The SPCA would not reveal the location.

“The muscles in the dog were literally cooked,” said Barbara Carr, the executive director of the Erie County SPCA.

Carr said the dog’s internal temperature was still 110 degrees at 3 p.m., two hours later. A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 and 102 degrees.

Carr said the SPCA also responded to a report of another pit bull mix that had a temperature of 107.6 degrees. The dog is now fine, she said. “That dog, another half an hour, would have died, too,” Carr said.

The SPCA was answering calls about overheated dogs and other animals “all day long,” the executive director said. Carr thinks some people don’t realize that dogs can overheat much more quickly than humans because they don’t sweat.

“It happens every summer, and it’s just beyond me that people don’t understand,” Carr said. “It’s just a horrific way for an animal to die.”

She said the dogs most vulnerable to the heat are dogs with “squished faces” like pugs and boxers their short faces make it more difficult to breathe.

She said if a dog’s tongue is bright red, it is going into heat stroke, and owners should act fast. Owners should keep dogs out of extreme heat, refrain from leaving them in their cars and give them plenty of water, Carr said.

Wednesday’s high was 89 degrees in Buffalo. Temperatures have skyrocketed into the 90s in certain areas this week.