Dogs rescued from pet clinic fire in Clearwater die after being left in hot car

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – When Fabian Rojas took his parent’s 10-year old Maltese-Yorkie mix, Kiwi, to the All Pet Care Animal Clinic in Clearwater, the dog was fine. But by the end of the day, he was dead.

Kiwi was one of two dogs that died as a result of what happened at the clinic on Wednesday when a fire broke out outside and employees scrambled to get the pets out to safety.

One of the workers called Rojas. “They called me to go pick him up because there was a fire. Pick him up and take him to the ER,” said Rojas. “That’s all they told me.”

When the animal ER checked Kiwi out, doctors discovered the dog had suffered heatstroke. Rojas learned that in their haste to get the pets out of the clinic, employees may have placed Kiwi and another dog in a car that may or may not have had the air conditioning on.

“A family member was neglected,” said Rojas. “It could have been an accident.”

Courtesy: Clearwater Fire Rescue

8 On Your Side reached out to All Pet Care Animal Clinic founder Dr. Gursager Singh, who says he could not say if the two dogs were in a car with functioning air conditioning. But he did say both pets that perished had pre-existing health conditions.

“Other team members, I think we should do better training to all of them,” said Dr. Gursager. “That all of them should know how to do CPR and the IV fluid.”

He added that he believes the clinic’s policies and procedures need to be looked at to prevent any future incidents.

Clearwater Fire Rescue posted pictures of firefighters treating the dogs at the scene. A representative with the agency told 8 on Your Side the department, “acknowledges that it treated the dogs not for smoke inhalation, but for heat exposure from being inside a hot car.”

Rojas has been taking his pets to the clinic for years. But now, he says, he won’t be going back.

“If you leave your child at a day care and something happens, not really their fault, but can you leave the rest of your kids there?” asked Rojas. “I don’t think you can.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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