HOUSTON, Texas — Houston SPCA investigators were called to rescue several dogs Monday who were in heat distress from being in the backyard of a South Houston home.
Unfortunately, when they got there, it was too late for one pup that had been chained to a fence without any shade.
“There’s an animal who was confined, baking in the sun, and when we got there, the animal was deceased," Julie Kuenstle, vice president of communications for the Houston SPCA said.
According to investigators, the dog may have been dead for at least a week, and because of that, the exact cause of death can not be determined, but Houston SPCA believes that heat played a major factor in its death along with the dog having no access to shelter or water.
“And that’s devastating," Kuenstle said. "Any single loss of life that could’ve been prevented, that’s very frustrating."
Two other dogs, along with four other puppies, were also in the backyard.
“There was another dog who was chained, but he had roaming access and also had access to another garage where there was some shade," Kuenstle said.
Those dogs are in Houston SPCA's custody. They are not yet up for adoption.
The animal rescue organization said this is the third animal death they’ve had so far this summer, and they’ve responded to an unprecedented number of heat-related calls -- 243 in the first 20 days of June.
“Last year we had about 87 calls during that time period, and so we’re talking close to 3 times that number," Kuenstle said.
Some of those cases include a chihuahua wearing a sweater in 100-degree heat, a dog left outside in a wire kennel, and earlier this month, they rescued a puppy that was kept outside in a birdcage.
“If you are going to leave your pets outside, which we don’t recommend, you need to, and the law says, you have to give them adequate food, water and shelter. Be mindful of the sun," Kuenstle said.
Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office said it's investigating the pup found dead in the backyard. The department will turn the entire report over to the District Attorney’s Office for review.
The punishment for animal cruelty charges could be up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
If you see an animal that needs help, call the Houston SPCA. The number is 713-869-7722.