A distressed and hot dog in the back of the ute.
A distressed and hot dog in the back of the ute.

Cairns dog owner to face charges over heat stress death

A CAIRNS pet owner has been slammed as "disgusting" after a dog died because it was left to "basically to cook in the hot sun".

RSPCA Cairns have confirmed charges will be laid against the Cairns West owner over the animal's death.

The six-month-old female staffordshire terrier/mastiff cross had been left chained to the side of a house on 30cm of metal chain, with no shade or water.

RSPCA regional operations manager for North Queensland Rob Harvey labelled it "just disgusting abuse, absolutely abhorrent" especially since it will be alleged that a neighbour told the owner their dog was in a poor state and nothing was done.

"It was just left basically to cook in the hot sun," Mr Harvey said.

"Just the way it happened, it was truly horrible."

RSPCA regional inspector Laura Harland, who found the animal, described it as the "worst heat-related incident" that she'd been involved in.

"I think everyone who had something to do with it was quite emotional," she said.

"Short-nosed breeds like this dog are particularly susceptible to heat stress."

Far Northern inspectors have been called to 23 heat-related incidents since temperatures began to soar, reaching 42.1 degrees today, including reports that wooden crate of puppies was left in a Cairns West backyard in the heat.

"We have had an increased amount of heat-related reports coming through, particularly over the last 48 hours," Ms Harland said.

"Unfortunately many pet owners do not even realise that their cats and dogs can overheat when the weather is hot, and may only seek treatment once it is too late."

Mr Harvey said they were also being inundated with calls about "animals left on the back of utilities, in cages with no water in the burning sun".

"We repeat ourselves every time it gets warm… and people just don't take it on board. They continually do things like this with their animals," he said.

"And people need to be held accountable for things like this.

"I'm at a loss as to why we continually have to repeat ourselves."

With hot weather expected for the rest of the week Mr Harvey has urged pet owners to look after their animals and to call 1300 264 625 (1300 ANIMAL) immediately if animals in distress were spotted.



Warning signs

  • Signs of heat stroke in dogs include:
  • Panting, which increases as heatstroke progresses.
  • Drooling and salivating.
  • Agitation and restlessness.
  • A bright red tongue and very red or pale gums.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Distressed/rapid breathing.

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