This June, a Glendale resident is facing possible criminal charges after his neighbors found a puppy near death on his balcony. Glendale Police detectives and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office have collected evidence to charge Adrian Gonzalez, 28, with animal cruelty.
On the afternoon of Sunday, June 5, residents at an apartment complex called the police after hearing a distressed pup on a third-floor balcony. The one-and-a-half-year-old chocolate labrador mix was trapped on the balcony with no shade or water. It was 113 degrees.
“You always hear the dog barking ’cause she’s out there 24/7; they never let her in,” neighbor Rocky Bouch told Glendale’s KPHO. “You could tell her little paws were burnt.”
“That poor dog never knew love in her short life,” Bouch added.
By the time firefighters arrived, the dog had died.
The story is a grim reminder of what can happen when pet owners don’t take the proper precautions in the extreme Arizona heat. That’s why the Phoenix City Council passed a groundbreaking new ordinance in May designed to protect dogs from negligent owners.
Under the new ordinance, tethered dogs must have at least 10 feet of line in harsh weather and a collar that isn’t too tight. Dog owners found guilty of breaking the ordinance will face a fine, but second and third offenses can result in a fine and jail time.
“The ordinance allows us to contact the owners, correct the situation and work with law enforcement to cite those that don’t improve the conditions of their pets,” Dr. Steve Hansen, CEO of the Arizona Humane Society, said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to stop neglect where it starts.”
It’s the first such rule in the state, and animal advocates say it’s already making a difference. But extreme heat isn’t the only threat to dogs in Arizona.
New building developments and irrigation systems are helping mosquitos thrive in Arizona, and where there are mosquitos, there are heartworms. The parasites are spread by mosquitos and can infect dogs, cats, coyotes, and occasionally even human beings. Six months after infection, up to 30 worms clog up the dog’s heart and lungs.
Although heartworm was once concentrated on the coasts and the Southeast, the disease is now showing up in Arizona. In areas with coyotes, heartworm infections are particularly common in pet dogs as well.
Veterinarians can provide heartworm testing and treatment. As for the famous Arizona heat, according to KPHO, “The best place for your pets during the hot summer months — any time, really — is inside. If they have to be outside, make sure they have access to plenty of cool water — do not use metal bowls — and a shady place.”
Arizona residents who encounter an animal or pet in distress should contact the Arizona Humane Society.