PHOENIX - Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is speaking out after a recently adopted dog died after being walked for miles in the summertime heat.
Several people turned to social media this week to memorialize Adler, a 1-year-old Boxer mix.
According to an MCACC spokesperson, the dog walked up to four miles after being adopted from the east Valley location and died shortly after arriving at his new home.
Several MCACC employees were devastated by the heartbreaking news.
"For them it's like losing one of their own pets," spokeswoman Melissa Gable said.
Despite the devastating circumstances, the owners told MCACC that they plan to adopt another dog.
MCACC said the family is “simple and uneducated” and it would be irresponsible to assume that they will not find a dog to adopt elsewhere.
"Normally, prior to this, we wouldn't ask people 'Do you have a way to get the animal home?'" Gable explained. "We just assumed that people do. So now our staff has been instructed to ask."
MCACC said the owners' intentions were not to be cruel; they simply did not understand the risks of walking a dog in the extreme heat. MCACC said they’ll be working with the family to offer advice and discuss veterinary needs as a result of the incident.
"We don't want people to be afraid to come to us," Gable said. "Or be shamed...and judged. We don't want them to feel like they shouldn't be allowed to come to the shelter."
A necropsy is underway to see if the dog suffered any underlying medical issues that may have contributed to his tragic death.