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Rescue & Cruelty

Heat-Distress Calls for Pets Double at Houston SPCA During First June Heatwave

(June 26, 2023)

Houston SPCA has managed more than two times the number of heat-related calls than last year as Animal Cruelty Investigators and Harris County Constable Precinct 1 have been swiftly responding to reports of pets in heat distress since the beginning of June. There were 243 heat-related reports from June 1 through June 20 and 87 heat-related calls during that same time in 2022.

Our team is on high alert for outdoor pets as triple digits have returned to our region this week, and we want to urgently remind pet owners that subjecting animals to these life-threatening conditions is illegal, and they could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“We are keeping a close watch on the weather since temperatures are back into the 100s again. That means every second counts when rescuing and treating heatstroke especially the most vulnerable animals including seniors, young animals as well as brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs, shih tzu and pugs,” said Dr. Roberta Westbrook, chief veterinarian and animal medical officer at Houston SPCA. A few recent heat-related cases include:

Tuesday, June 20, Houston SPCA and Harris County Constable Precinct 1 respond to a call of heat distress for a senior chihuahua wearing a sweater outside with severe skin issues in Southwest Houston. The digital surface thermometer at the scene registered at 106 degrees. She was taken to the Houston SPCA for individualized treatment.

Monday, June 19, in north Houston, Houston SPCA and Harris County Constable Precinct 1 rescued a dog outside in a wire kennel in direct sun with a metal table on top that registered 117 degrees with a digital surface thermometer. The dog was rushed back to the Houston SPCA, where she was given a cooling bath followed by alcohol swabs to help lower her body temperature.

Thursday, June 16, a German shepherd kept in a kennel outside was in heat distress when the Harris County Constable Precinct 1 served an exigent warrant to allow the Houston SPCA to bring the dog to their animal medical hospital, where their veterinary team began the work of quickly lowering the dog’s internal body temperature with a damp towel, a large fan and alcohol swabs.

It’s imperative the community does not wait to call in a report of potential heat distress of a pet at 713.869.7722 or reach out to their neighbor to help their pet, if possible.


Since 1924, the Houston SPCA has been the leading private, nonprofit animal welfare organization in the greater Houston region. We are one of the only organizations in the country able to care for animals of all kinds in one location. Looking for more ways to give? Check here for how to support animals in need.

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