ROSELAND — A heat-related tragedy has rocked a local dog show. 14 dogs in town for the Michiana Kennel Club AKC Dog Show died inside a hot truck Friday evening.
A Lakesyde Kennels and Handling operator out of Ohio was looking after the dogs, but police say when she went to check on them last night, all 14 were dead.
The news has put a sad tinge on the otherwise jovial, high-energy show.
“To have something this tragic happen, it affects everybody,” said Cheryl Crompton, of the Michiana Kennel Club. “It’s been very solemn all day. I’ve cried, just at the loss of life.”
The dogs that died were supposed to be a part of the weekend show at St. Joseph County fairgrounds.
They were found dead in the parking lot at the Quality Inn in Roseland, where the Ohio woman in charge of them was keeping them in the back of a truck. The truck had air conditioning powered by an extension cord plugged into the exterior of the hotel. A circuit breaker in the truck tripped in the midst of Friday’s heat and humidity.
All 14 dogs locked in the truck died. They were Golden Retrievers, but one was a Brittany Spaniel.
“It appeared it was just a very tragic accident,” said Lt. William Redman of the St. Joseph County Police Department. “It was difficult, no question. It’s something I’ve never seen before and I’m going on 23 years with the police department.”
Lt. Redman investigated the case, and says he found no sign of criminal intent.
“It was an unfortunate incident, that was not in any way the fault of anybody,” said Crompton. “It was an accident, just like a car wreck. An unfortunate car wreck, where lives are lost.”
The dogs that died not only belonged to the woman caring for them, but she was also entrusted to care for the dogs of eight other people.
“I cannot imagine the pain that these people are going through,” said Crompton.
The investigation is now in the hands of the St. Joseph County Humane Society.
On Monday, a vet’s office will be contacted by the county Humane Society to perform the equivalent of an autopsy on at least two of the dogs to confirm the cause of death.