BY KEN LITTLE
One of two dogs found locked in a car in 90-degree heat Thursday while their owners were inside a nearby medical office was euthanized on Friday.
The female Shar-Pei mix never recovered from the effects of the extreme heat inside the car and was put to sleep by a veterinarian, said Amy Bowman, manager of the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society.
The dog had a temperature of 109 degrees when it was removed from the car Thursday afternoon.
The dogs were inside a two-seat Mercedes sedan in the parking lot of the Greeneville Medical Group, near Takoma Regional Hospital.
After several people saw the suffering animals in the parking lot, Greeneville police were notified.
The outside temperature was 90 degrees when police arrived about 5 p.m. Thursday. The dog "appeared to be having a seizure," a police report said.
It and a male pit bull mix dog, initially identified by police as a coon hound, were taken by the Humane Society to the Greene County Veterinary Medical Center.
The male dog, which police said "was panting heavily and appeared to be lethargic," had a temperature of 105 degrees when removed from the car. Its condition had improved but the dog was still not out of the woods Friday afternoon.
"The vets are still monitoring him. They are hoping he will stabilize and be OK, but it will be a few days before they know how they will handle the situation," Bowman said.
There has been an outpouring of concern about the dogs from the community, Bowman said.
Many people were saddened Friday when they learned the female dog had been euthanized.
"She had a really bad night. She was still non-responsive this morning," Bowman said. "The prognosis was very, very grim so we felt she should be euthanized so she didn't suffer."
Issued summonses for animal cruelty were Roger Lewis Miscovitch, 71, of Good Hope Road, Parrottsville, and Susan Rebecca Miscovitch, 54, of the same Cocke County address. The Cocke County man and woman will appear Wednesday morning in General Sessions Court.
Witnesses told police one window in the car was cracked open a few inches, but the other was shut. Several people who saw the dogs in the car went into nearby Takoma Regional Hospital to call police and attempt to find the owners.
Bowman said instances where dogs and other animals are left inside cars in hot weather happens all too often.
"It's not uncommon. A lot of times the police will just handle the situation. A lot of times they will get the door open and they will contact Animal Control, or they will contact the Humane Society," Bowman said.
The dogs "were actually baking in that car. It was such a horrible way for them to suffer and it was so preventable, too," Bowman said.
On a warm day the temperature in a car can exceed 120 degrees within a matter of minutes, according to the The Humane Society of the United States.
"Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation," a Humane Society flyer on the topic said.
The threat can easily be remedied, Bowman said.
"It's best to just leave your pets at home in the hot weather if at all possible," she said.