Bystanders rescue overheating dogs, one dies

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HCSO photo

A dog rescued from a hot car at University Mall in Tampa is now in stable condition.

Bystanders broke the window of a 2004 Mazda in the mall parking lot Friday morning to free two dogs locked inside. The windows were rolled up, and the dogs had likely been locked in the vehicle for more than an hour, according to authorities.

The temperature inside the car was recorded at 130 degrees after the window was broken.

"That had to be a torturous situation…Completely unnecessary for these pets," said Marti Ryan, spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center.

Scooby Doo, a 10-month old Dachshund mix, was taken out of the vehicle alive, but his companion pet, Beast, a 5-year-old Staffordshire terrier, died from a heatstroke.

"Good Samaritans on scene had attempted to give him some water. He probably couldn't drink the water, because he was already in such heat distress," said Ryan.

The dogs' owners, Joe Frazier, 21, and Ashlee Frazier, 19, were arrested upon returning to the car. Both were charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty.

According to animal advocates, it only takes minutes for a dog to go into heat distress inside a locked car, because the animals do not sweat like humans.

"It can damage the organs and almost cook them from the inside out, so it's critical that the animal be taken into air conditioning immediately and cooled down," said Ryan.

Scooby Doo is being cared for by veterinarians at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center.