Metro

Chihuahua left in dog carrier dies of heatstroke

A 1-year-old Chihuahua was found abandoned in a dog carrier at a Brockton animal shelter Tuesday morning.
Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts
A 1-year-old Chihuahua was found abandoned in a dog carrier at a Brockton animal shelter Tuesday morning.

A 1-year-old Chihuahua, unconscious and foaming at the mouth, was found abandoned in a dog carrier at a Brockton animal shelter Tuesday morning, according to a statement from the MSPCA. The small dog died of heatstroke on the way to a veterinary hospital.

Joyce Caranci, manager of the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts in Brockton, said the brown-and-white Chihuahua mix was suffering from severe heatstroke when it was discovered in a plastic carrier at 8:10 a.m. about halfway up the driveway of the shelter at 1300 West Elm Extension. Temperatures had crept into the 80s by that time.

Caranci reached into the carrier and felt the dog’s heartbeat. She decided to take it to the Lloyd Animal Medical Center in Stoughton, but the dog died on the way.

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“Thinking there might be a chance and then realizing there wasn’t . . . ” Caranci trailed off. “It’s not good.”

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Caranci said she first noticed the carrier tucked behind a bush as she was leaving the shelter to take some of the dogs on a morning walk. The carrier was in full sunlight and positioned in a way that would keep it out of sight unless someone was leaving the shelter, she said.

The dog’s body temperature reached the thermometer’s maximum reading of 110 degrees, which is about 9 degrees higher than a standard canine temperature, according to the statement.

MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin said the dog appeared to be in otherwise healthy condition, which might suggest that its owner wanted to drop it off at the shelter so it could find a new home.

“It’s likely a case of someone got into trouble and needed to surrender their animal and was too ashamed or embarrassed to go through the surrender process,” Halpin told the Globe.

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Caranci said she has seen cases like that before, but this one felt different.

“Where this was left seemed so conscious and deliberate, I can’t quite in my mind place why that was where they chose to leave her,” she said.

The dog, which weighed about 10 pounds, didn’t have any identification tags and wasn’t microchipped. The carrier, which was tan and dark gray, also did not bear any identifiers or labels.

The case is now an open felony animal cruelty investigation. There currently are no leads, Halpin said.

The MSPCA Law Enforcement Department is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. Anyone with information is urged to call the MSPCA’s toll-free law enforcement line at 800-628-5808.

Sophia Eppolito can be reached at sophia.eppolito@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito.