Dog Dies on Hike in Phoenix, Owner Charged with Neglect

A 29-year-old man has been charged with neglect after one of his dogs died while on a hike along the Piestewa Peak Trailhead in Phoenix, Arizona, on August 9. The day of the fatality, temperatures reached between 109 and 110.

According to officials, Phoenix Fire Technical Rescue teams were sent in after hiker Daniel Milunovic reported that he and his two dogs were overheating. When the crews arrived, one of the dogs had already succumbed to the effects of the scorching heat.

The team was reported to have safely walked Milunovic and the other canine back down the trail. While the man didn’t require medical treatment, his other dog needed to be cooled down by rescuers.

Arizona desert
Photo: Pixabay/KDesign1974

In a statement, Phoenix Police Sergeant Robert Scherer said: “The rescue was completed by Phoenix Fire personnel, which included an adult male identified as 29-year-old Daniel Milunovic and two dogs. One dog was deceased when fire contacted them on the mountain, and the other dog was in heat distress.”

Milunovic was arrested onsite and issued a citation instead of detention. The initial charges include neglect of animals, but according to police, an animal cruelty investigation relating to the deceased dog is ongoing.

“If after these evaluations it is determined that charging a more significant charge is appropriate, the necessary measures will occur,” Scherer’s statement continued.

Phoenix mountains
Photo: Pixabay/csr_ch

Physician Sam Tytler, who was hiking in the area at the time told Fox News, “We tried to resuscitate the dog. Put some water on him. Did some CPR. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a heartbeat.”

He went on to say, “There are signs that say no dogs on this trail. You know, dogs have higher body temperature, they have no sweat glands, this is just a terrible event.”

While canines are allowed on trails when the weather’s not so stifling, in 2016, the City of Phoenix passed a law banning dogs when temperatures hit 100 degrees or above.

hikers in the desert
Photo: Pixabay/Anthonyo

Captain Todd Keller with the Phoenix Fire Department noted, “There’s a reason why no one should be on this trail right now, whether it’s a human, whether it’s a dog.
“It’s 110 degrees out right now. We’re in an Excessive Heat Warning. This is why these laws are implemented, so dogs don’t die. So people don’t die.”

Representative Tracey Miller with the Arizona Humane Society hypothesized that the damage the surviving dog sustained could be irreversible.

“They may never be able to recover from this because their internal temperature has gotten so high that, for lack of a better word, it basically cooks their brain. So, they could have long-term damage.”

dogs in desert
Photo: Pixabay/avi_acl

Of course, that is not known at this time, but the words speak for themselves: if the temperatures are in the hundreds, avoid hiking and definitely leave your pets at home in a climate-controlled atmosphere where they’ll be safe. Also, be aware that even if you start out early in the morning, the temps can be too much to bear by 9 a.m., so plan accordingly.

Another hiker by the name of Erric Harvey was on his way up the trail when he realized the dogs didn’t look well.

“I ran into a gentleman with two dogs. They looked distressed already. I said, ‘Hey, dude, I don’t think dogs are allowed.’ He said, ‘We’re almost done, it’s all cool.'” Unfortunately, his fears became a reality.

“You hear sirens as I was coming back down. As I was getting closer, sure enough one of the dogs was laying there,” he added before commenting that he has dogs and he would not have brought them along.

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