Dog dies due to heat in Murfreesboro; Man charged with animal cruelty


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – The heat is being blamed for the death of a dog in Murfreesboro, but Animal Control officials say animal deaths like this one can be avoided.

The scorching temperatures can be downright brutal, and for animals left out in the elements, it they can be deadly.

Rutherford County PAWS veterinarian Debrina Dill sees animals suffering from all types of ailments, but the heat is a problem all in itself.

“Unfortunately, being overheated can even progress to seizures and can cause death. If they become overheated it can cause liver damage and a bleeding syndrome where they can die,” Dill said.

Tuesday afternoon on Journey Drive in Murfreesboro a neighbor saw a black lab named Stevie in distress. It had become tangled in its leash.

According to an incident report, there was no water or food near the dog and Stevie died.

“Even if they have shade it can still be very hot,” Dill said, mentioning that dark coated dogs can overheat easily. “You want to make sure that you’re watching them for signs of heat exhaustion, weakness, dizziness or stumbling around.”

Animal Control reported the dog’s body temperature was 131 degrees, and the ground temperature around the dog house was 106 degrees.

The dog’s owner Kevin Syas was arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

“We are getting calls constantly for welfare checks in Rutherford County, for folks are concerned who don’t have adequate water and shelter and those type things,” said PAWS Director Michael Gregory.

Syas’ wife told WKRN, “It was an accident. Stevie got tangled. My daughter put two containers of water with ice and food out for him before we left home that morning.”

“I wished the neighbor who saw Stevie struggling would have come over and untangled him and given him water,” she added.

Animal Control officials said pet owners can follow a few tips to prevent what happened Tuesday from happening again.

“Even as hot as it is out there today just having adequate shelter as far as a dog house and water really isn’t sufficient, you need some type of shade so that animal can get out of the direct sunlight,” Gregory said.

If a dog house must be used, there is an inexpensive method to keep the animal safe, according to Animal Control officials. They suggest filling bottles with water and freezing them overnight. When the frozen bottles are placed in the dog house, they serve as a makeshift air conditioner.

Pets left in vehicles are another major concern for animal control. Officers said even five minutes in a vehicle can be dangerous or deadly.

Animal Control officers carry infrared guns to gauge the temperature. A temperature test of a black SUV with tinted windows in the parking lot of PAWS registered 120 degrees.

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