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Heartbroken Rescuers Left Shaken After 12 Dogs Died When Air-Conditioning Failed In Trailer

Dogs bound for an out-of-state adoption event died from heatstroke after the air-conditioning system failed in the transport trailer.

Atlanta, GA – Last weekend, twelve dogs perished in a transport trailer after the air-conditioning system failed. Lifeline Animal Project broke the heartbreaking news on Monday, explaining that team members were transporting dogs to an out-of-state adoption event in a borrowed trailer.

According to the organization, the transport team stopped multiple times along the way and discovered the failed air-conditioning system within an hour of their last check-in. The group said:

the teams stopped frequently to check on the dogs along the way. We are devastated to share that within an hour from the last check-in, the team discovered that the air conditioning unit failed. The temperature gauge for the trailer that was displayed in the cab remained around 72 to 65 degrees and did not indicate any issues.

The team immediately began efforts to save the dogs, saving 22; tragically 11 of the dogs died on site. Two dogs were transported to an emergency veterinarian for care, but one of the dogs died, bringing the total dead to 12.

The group expressed sorrow for the tremendous loss, writing:

This tragic loss has shaken all of us to our core. We will be hosting a vigil this week for our staff and volunteers to grieve the painful loss of these 12 dogs. Though this was an unforeseen and devastating mechanical failure, the loss is unfathomable. In this dark hour, we wanted to let our community know about this tragedy and we ask that you please support the teams with your thoughts and kindness.

Rest in peace.

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  1. Rescuers? No way! Real rescuers would be in the trailer all the way, to comfort the dogs and to keep an eye on them! These people are fake, shame on them!!

  2. The dogs should have never been in a trailer where humans couldn’t access during the drive without having to stop and open the back of it up. Sounds crazy. Use a large van or multiple SUV’s and drivers so the animals can be monitored the entire way. The transporter should be able to hear and see the dogs at all times by using cameras, baby monitors or better yet have a person inside the trailer with the dogs to ensure they are okay and comfortable. Putting them in a enclosed trailer with nobody to watch them is insane. Think of the suffering the dogs endured and the adopters hearts being crushed when their dog didn’t arrive alive.

  3. I had a rescue, plus have helped with rescue transports, as well. Who the hell, puts live animals in a box truck, in the first place?!? The a/c,or heat, malfunctioning happens more often than people realize. I ALWAYS transported animals in a vehicle (RV, van, minivan, etc.)where I was able to SEE and HEAR them. I’m sure those involved are hurting, but they didn’t exercise common sense. How many times do we have to read about animals dying like this?

  4. Animals should NEVER be transported in a trailer or other cargo area where there is no constant human supervision. Use a bus or a van or a motor home. I’m sure they feel awful that this happened but maybe they learned there are better ways to do it. Sadly, those poor dogs lost their one opportunity to have a chance of a new life full of hope, and that breaks my heart.

    • I totally agree with you ~ the malfunction in air conditioning is totally inexcusable as an excuse for the horrible death of these poor dogs. Thirty four dogs crammed together like cattle is horrendous for all the dogs. They must all have been in such a panic ~ RIP doggies

  5. People who are trying to rescue dogs would not deliberately be negligent in their care. They may have made mistakes, but if they did, they have to live with that and bear the heartbreak. What you all have done is to increase their feelings of guilt and heartbreak to an even greater degree than they are already suffering. It is not our place to judge. No one is perfect. They were trying to save these dogs, do you think they didn’t care if they died on their watch? This is absolutely heartbreaking, maybe preventable, but still incredibly sad for all.

  6. Well, aren’t you all special, those who accused them of lying. The rescuer above, she may not have had that happen but she was not with those people and so should be quiet. The other critic also was not there. I certainly was not but I know I would be heartbroken if i was bringing animals someplace they could get new lives and they died on my watch. I don’t know what the set up was but it was supposed to be air conditioned and it was until it broke. Could something here have been done better? Quite possibly but again, I was not there and neither were any of these criticizers who wrote before me. Get over yourselves because you have only some of the facts.


  8. 12 dogs needlessly lost their lives. 34 dogs packed into a borrowed trailer. Not enough airflow. They didn’t check on them every hour, guarantee you that. They should’ve been checking/walking/watering them every 1-2 hours, but it takes too much time to do that for THIRTY FOUR DOGS. Before anyone asks, I do transports. This incident is UNACCEPTABLE. Period.

    • I totally agree with you ~ the malfunction in air conditioning is totally inexcusable as an excuse for the horrible death of these poor dogs. Thirty four dogs crammed together like cattle is horrendous for all the dogs. They must all have been in such a panic ~ RIP doggies

    • I drive transports. If they had checked every hour, they would have known something was amiss. One can have compassion and still question bullshit stories.

  9. USE CAMERAS IN CARGO AREAS, ALONG WITH TEMP GAUGES. Also, I don’t believe that they checked every hour. Having animals ride as cargo in an enclosed box truck is just wrong. If your going to lock them up back there, then take turns riding back there WITH THEM! I also have no sympathy for parents who forget a child in a hot car.

    • Liz took the words out of my mouth. Mechanical failures are known to happen spontaneously without ‘warning.’ You don’t lock live beings, as helpless as human children, in an airless box truck. Even trucks that take animals to the slaughterhouse, don’t do that. You don’t assume a mechanical failure as common as a malfunctioning temp guage, cant happen. Precaution could’ve been as simple as one team member staying w/ the dogs, even just to comfort-support any anxiety some of them might have. Shame on them & shame on whomever is asking for the public to comfort-support a team of individuals responsible for 12 dogs dying, under their watch.


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