Two Pit Bulls were left locked in cages in triple-digit heat in Fontana, Calif. on Monday, August 6, without water. Despite valiant efforts by Fontana Animal Services Officer Jamie Simmons, one of the 90-lb. dogs died an excruciating death.
The Pit Bulls’ owner, Jose Luis Delallata, 26, is facing felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
According to the report, Fontana Animal Services Officer Jamie Simmons responded Monday to a call from a concerned neighbor that there was heavy panting by dogs at a residence in the 12000 block of Rose Hill Drive.
"As I exited my vehicle, I could hear the panting from the street," Simmons said.
In the driveway, behind a blue recycling bin, Officer Simmons said she found a large metal cage with two-inch-thick wire mesh. A 98-pound gentle blue and white Pit Bull, named Kona, was so weak he couldn’t stand. The pads of Kona’s feet were blistered from the scorching concrete driveway. She told reporters. "He was panting very heavily. Very short, rapid breaths."
Officer Simmons pried the cage door open with a screwdriver, then rolled Kona onto a blanket and moved him to a shaded area under a tree, where she began measures to try to save his life. .
She sparingly applied rubbing alcohol to the pads of Kona's feet and cool water to the dog's head and along his gum line. But Kona stopped breathing despite her efforts.
The officer still tried to save the life of the gentle giant by beginning chest compressions and mouth-to-snout resuscitation. But it wasn't enough to save Kona, Simmons said. It was already too late for the officer to reverse the deadly effects of the owner’s neglect and carelessness.
Kona's body temperature was so high it didn't even register on Simmons' thermometer.
A dog's normal body temperature is between 99 and 101 degrees, but when the temperature hits 105 degrees, internal organs begin to shut down.
"My thermometer can only register 110, and when it's higher than that, it comes up as 110-H," said Simmons, adding that 110-H was the reading she got when she took Kona's temperature. "The dog cooked from the inside out."
Officer Simmons then found another blue-and-white male pit bull, Kush, locked inside a cemented dog run along the side of the house, agitated and panting heavily. An empty two-inch pie pan sat near the dog.
Because Kush was able to move around and circulate, it may have saved his life, Simmons said. Kush was taken to an animal hospital in San Bernardino, where he is receiving treatment and is under observation on Wednesday, according to the Daily Bulletin.
"Kush is recovering," Simmons said. "But the seriousness of the situation doesn't end once you get them out of the heat. You have to keep them cool for several days and treat them with IV fluids. It's a matter of day-to-day observation."
The Pit Bulls’ owner, Jose Delallata, was arrested about 1:45 p.m. Monday and booked into jail, according to the Daily Bulletin. He posted bail Tuesday and was released from custody.
Prosecutors were reviewing the case Wednesday to decide if charges will be filed, according to the report.
REMINDER TO PET OWNERS
A small, two-inch pan of water would not sustain a large dog (or possibly even a small one) during extreme heat for even a short period of time. If the water is in direct sun, it soon reaches a temperature where the dog cannot drink it and it also evaporates quickly.Water should always be left in a protected, shaded area and checked frequently.
Water should not be in a metal container in extremely hot weather, because it accelerates the heating of the water and the metal can burn the animal.
Hot concrete and asphalt can blister the pads of a dog’s feet quickly.
Do not run or skateboard with a dog in hot weather. Do not attach a dog to a bicycle while you ride. This article explains the potential quick—often fatal-- increase in a dog’s body temperature.
Dogs must always have access to shade and shelter against any type of adverse weather conditions.
IMMEDIATELY REPORT ANIMALS IN DISTRESS
If you become aware of any pet (or wildlife) in distress in any situation, this is a reminder to report the location and conditions to the local animal control or police agency immediately. Quick action may stop the animal’s suffering and save its life!