Eight K9s dead after van's AC unit fails

The K9s were in transit to an Indiana training facility when the van encountered a traffic jam amid extreme heat.

A cargo van, in Lake Station, Ind., in which dogs were being transported.
Jennifer Webber/Humane Society of Hobart, Ind. via AP

The Police Department in Lake Station, Indiana, said that a van's air conditioning unit was to blame for a number of canines succumbing to heat stroke. 

The police did not give specific numbers on how many canines died, but NBC Chicago reported that eight dogs died inside the van. There were 18 canines being transported inside the van, the report said. 

The incident occurred on July 27. According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in the Chicago area reached 93 degrees. 

Police said the van was in transit from Chicago's O'Hare Airport to a K-9 training facility Michigan City, Indiana, when it got caught in a two-hour traffic jam. While this was occurring, police said the driver was unaware that the air conditioning in the cargo area was not functioning. 

"The driver’s attention as to what was going on inside the cargo area was alerted to him by some of the canines barking," the police said. "Once inside the the cargo area, he observed the canines in distress and began to remove the canines who were crated. This prompted 911 calls to the Lake Station Fire Department and EMS along with the Lake Station Police Department."

Animal rescue owner charged after grisly discovery
Animal rescue owner charged after grisly discovery

Animal rescue owner charged after grisly discovery

Nearly 120 dogs were discovered at an Ohio animal rescue, including 30 found dead inside freezers.


Police said that the canines were transported to area veterinarians for treatment. 

In June, two police K9s died in separate incidents that also involved air conditioning units malfunctioning.  On June 6, K-9 Chase of the Cobb County Police Department in Georgia died from a heat stroke. A week later, Aron died from heat exhaustion after being left in a hot police cruiser.

In 2022, the Officer Down Memorial Page reported that two K-9s died in a similar fashion with departments claiming their cruisers’ heat monitoring systems failed.