Three dogs die in overheated Humane Society van
By Bobby Bryant
The Darlington County Humane Society has been rocked by the accidental deaths of three dogs left in a Humane Society van that became dangerously hot after its air-conditioning system apparently quit working.
The dogs died Sept. 2. They were among a reported 10 dogs in the Humane Society van waiting to be examined by a veterinarian.
The van’s air conditioning had been left on to keep the dogs cool, Humane Society officials said, but the system apparently stopped running. It wasn’t clear how long the dogs were left in the van.
“We’re heartbroken and I can’t tell you how painful this experience was and how distressing. We are still shaken and traumatized, frankly,” Humane Society shelter manager Jackie Kirven told WPDE-TV.
The other dogs in the van are said to be OK.
Late last week, the Humane Society’s board of directors issued a statement on the incident. The statement, signed by Christopher “Kit” Hardee, chairman of the board, said a group of dogs were in a shelter van waiting for a weekly checkup from a veterinarian.
“The air conditioner in the van malfunctioned,” the board’s statement said. “Staff, volunteers and the attending veterinarian worked quickly to cool down the dogs, but three died despite their efforts.
“Everyone at the shelter and in the organization is heartbroken at their loss.”
“This is a tragic reminder of how quickly this heat can be deadly,” Kirven said in the board’s statement.
The Humane Society has reviewed its transport protocols and made changes, the statement said. “Location of (vet) sessions has been changed for times of extreme heat.”
In the statement, board president Jeannie Gainey said, “We understand that this tragedy has impacted our community, as well as our staff and volunteers. We are doing everything that we can think of so that this nightmare won’t happen again.”