CINCINNATI — A dog is dead and four SPCA employees have been disciplined after leaving the animal in a transfer van overnight last week.
According to SPCA Cincinnati Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Dr. Dave LeBourveau, a 1.5-year-old pit bull mix was being transported from the SPCA’s facility in Northside to its facility in Sharonville Thursday afternoon, Jan. 14.
Upon arriving in Sharonville between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Thursday, LeBourveau said, four employees assigned to unload and clean the transfer van failed to follow proper unloading procedure and left the animal in the vehicle overnight.
Roughly 16 hours later, SPCA employees discovered the dog suffering hypothermia Friday around 8:00 a.m. The dog was not expected to survive its injuries and was euthanized.
"The pet was deemed to be hypothermic at the time and unresponsive to treatment," LeBourveau said. "For that reason, the veterinarian...deemed that euthanasia would be the best outcome."
The incident, understandably, has left LeBourveau and his team emotional.
"Our job is to take care of animals who are unwanted and abused," he told WCPO Wednesday. "The last thing that we ever what to have happen is something like this."
LeBourveau said this was an extra transport run between facilities that day.
The four employees have been disciplined, LeBourveau said. No one lost their job as a result of the incident.
LeBourveau said the animal would have been found had the employees followed proper protocol.
"Whoever unloads the van, then they check off a roster to indicate that all the pets were there," LeBourveau said. "The roster in this case, there was some question whether it was accurate or not. The last person to unload the van usually goes in and cleans and checks everything.
"That protocol was not followed, so obviously this pet was overlooked," he said.
According to the 9 First Warning Weather team, the low temperature that night was 34 degrees Fahrenheit, just two degrees above freezing.