For Cartersville Police Chief Thomas Culpepper, the death of a cocker spaniel mix Monday night highlighted the need for individuals to properly care for their animals. The canine perished after overheating in the back of his owner's U-Haul rental box truck.
"Obviously, this time of year, it's hot," Culpepper said. Anyone that gets in a car realizes how hot it is. We don't think about animals overheating because they seem to go places we don't and tolerate things that we can't but they overheat easily. They try to cool [themselves] down if there's no water. They can't tell somebody, 'Hey, I'm thirsty. I need a drink of water.
"They're dependent on their owners to be responsible and look out for them and not lock them up into basically a heated container without ventilation and water. So we would urge that people take that into consideration. ... We don't see a lot of [this] fortunately. But unfortunately when we do see it, this is typically what happens, especially this time of year in the South when it could easily be 100 degrees or more outside, which just gets worse inside the car," he said, referring to Monday's incident, where CPD arrested Jerry Mason of Savannah, who was traveling to Kentucky, on a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge for transporting a canine in the back of his packed U-Haul. According to the CPD's incident report, Mason said his cocker spaniel mix was relocated to the cargo area which had no ventilation or air conditioning after becoming restless in the truck's cab and had been in the back for 45 minutes to an hour.
Receiving care from a concerned individual who was attempting to cool the dog with water, the canine was in physical distress when the police officers arrived and was later taken to Bartow Animal Hospital and treated for possible heat stroke. While Mason bonded out of jail Tuesday morning, the CPD is considering upgrading his charge.
Across town, the Etowah Valley Humane Society is highlighting the need for responsible pet ownership with its upcoming BowWow Meow Family Festival. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event on Aug. 25 will feature arts and crafts, entertainment, pet education and information regarding animal adoption at the Goodyear Clubhouse in the Atco community, 3 Goodyear Ave.
What we want to do is educate the community about animal care, animal rescue and adoption, and spay and neuter in a fun environment for kids and families, said Homeless Pets Clubs Bartow Coordinator Enger Dickey, who is spearheading the event with EVHS Director Bryan Canty. "So we're going to have some kids, crafts and games. We're going to have educational speakers. We're also going to have community performers there in 15-minute increments.
"We've got some educational information [on] how the community [can] get involved as well [such as] ... the Homeless Pets Club Bartow, [which] just got started last year. What it is is the schools, some of them already have an existing club and some other schools are just starting a club. The purpose of the club is to educate the students about the same things we're trying to do with this festival: proper animal care, spay/neuter, that kind of thing. And then to help the shelter get animals get adopted. So each club sponsors an animal or two, a cat or a cat and a dog, whatever they choose to do, and their job is to kind of get the word out about that pet, share it with their community and hopefully get that pet adopted. And then once that pet is adopted then they can choose another pet to sponsor. So that way hopefully we'll get more people coming in to the shelter and get more turnaround on some of our adoptions."
The BowWow Meow Family Festiva's schedule includes K-9 Officer Jeremy Woody, 10:30 a.m.; Bartow County Animal Control's Tommy Gentry, 10:45 a.m.; R and R Bluegrass Music at 11 and 11:15 a.m.; Kelly's Pet Grooming, 11:30 a.m.; Kerry's School of Dance, 11:45 a.m.; R and R Bluegrass Music at noon and 12:15 p.m.; League for Animal Welfare, 12:30 p.m.; dog trainer Katherine Kekel, 12:45 p.m.; Cartersville Ballet, 1 p.m.; Kekel, 1:15 p.m.; Purple Dragons, 1:30 p.m.; and veterinarian Dr. Dani Reddington 1:45 p.m.
Admission to the festival will be $5. For more information, call the EVHS at 770-383-3338 or visit www.etowahvalleyhumane.org.