by the Eugene Police Department
On Friday July 8 at 12:01 p.m., Valley River Center Security called Eugene Police to report a dog locked inside a VW Passat parked in direct sunlight. An EPD community service officer responded and then requested additional help from EPD Patrol officers.
Two officers responded and found a 4-year-old Great Dane named Hercules panting vigorously and swaying in the backseat of the car. The temperature in the car was 113 degrees. An officer reached his arm through an opening in a window and another was able to open the door. Hercules collapsed to the floor in the backseat. The CSO and officers struggled and safely pulled Hercules out of the car. They poured water on the dog to lower his body temperature and transported him to an emergency vet where he is being treated for life threatening injuries.
The owners returned to their vehicle at 12:40 p.m. to find an officer waiting to investigate further. Joshua Paul Randall, age 43, of Oakridge, and a family member had been inside the center at a movie theatre since approximately 10:20 a.m.
Randall was arrested and lodged at Lane County Jail on a charge of Animal Neglect in the First Degree.
Eugene Police and Eugene Animal Services is urging people to not leave their pets unattended inside a vehicle, even for a just few minutes. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise quickly, easily causing an animal to experience heat stroke or brain damage, even with windows slightly open and the vehicle parked under shade.
It is important to note animals do not have to experience distress or heat stroke for a person to be cited for animal neglect. Under 4.340 of Eugene Code, minimum care requires an animal have access to water and not be confined in an area where air temperature is not suitable. To help investigate cases of animal neglect, the animal welfare officers and police officers are all equipped with digital thermometers.
Heatstroke symptoms can include: restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, vomiting, and lack of coordination. If your animal is overcome by heat exhaustion, consult your veterinarian right away.
If you notice an animal in distress or unresponsive in a parked car, call 911. If an animal is not in distress and it is quicker to locate the owner you may consider that in addition to calling for help.
Please take additional precautions to keep your pets safe at home or when traveling.
- Make sure pets have access to water bowls full of cool, fresh water.
- Keep pets inside during the heat of the day; do not leave them outside unattended.
- Dogs should not ride in uncovered pickup truck beds. The hot metal truck bed can burn your pet’s paw pads.
- When pets are outside, be sure to provide shaded areas for them to rest in and invest in a misting hose or kiddie pool for a cool place for your pets to play.
- Limit or skip on exercise and time at the dog park during the heat of the day.
- Always test the pavement or sand with your hand before setting out (too hot to touch is too hot for your pet), walk early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler, carry water and take frequent breaks in shady spots. If you suspect your pet’s paws have been burned, contact your vet immediately.