WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A dog is now in the care of the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter after a third-party animal agency found it tethered outside and in distress from the heat.

April Peiffer, community programs coordinator at the WCRAS, said the dog, Hugo, was found two days ago by a partner of the agency. The shelter said the dog was diagnosed with heatstroke.

She said she could not reveal which group discovered Hugo or what city he was taken from as the situation remains sensitive given the dog’s dire condition.

Peiffer said Hugo was immediately taken to a veterinary clinic. 

She said his internal body temperature was 107 degrees. She said having a temp of just 102 degrees can be deadly for a dog.

“They are not equipped to be in this weather any more than we are really. And a dog like Hugo with 107-degree temperature is at great risk of not making it,” Peiffer said.

What’s next for Hugo?

Peiffer said Hugo has made progress but is not fully recovered and will continue to receive veterinary care. 

If he does recover, Peiffer said Hugo will likely enter into a WCRAS program and potentially go to a new home.

“It’s really important that people get that care to those animals as fast as possible because that’s kind of critical to their ability to survive,” Peiffer said.

Peiffer said the public can donate to the WCRAS’s medical fund which helps Hugo and other animals receive medical care.

Recognizing signs of overheating in dogs

Dr. Brianna Armstrong is a vet with Firehouse Animal Health Center. She said summertime is when overheating is more likely to occur in animals but is easily preventable.

Armstrong said when overheating, dogs may pant, become lethargic, and their mucus membranes like their nose may become dried out.

She said the extreme heat Central Texas has seen lately is inhospitable to animals and encouraged the public to stay vigilant of their pet’s health when outside.

“A lot of it revolves around keeping an eye on your pet when they’re outside. Maybe letting them out in the earlier morning hours and the later night hours so that they’re not out during the hottest part of the day,” Armstrong said.

The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act passed by Texas legislators in 2021, dictates legal protections for animals kept outside.

The act states that animals must have adequate shelter that is clean and large enough to stand, sit down, and lie in among other criteria.

The act also says that unlawful restraint of a dog includes leaving the dog outside unattended without access to shelter, water, or shade.