During the transport, which was taking the dogs to a K9 training facility in Michigan City, the driver of the vehicle became caught in a two-hour traffic delay, according to police.
While stuck in traffic, the AC unit that was keeping the canines in the cargo area cool shut down. The driver was unaware this occurred because his part of the vehicle was separate from the cargo area.
The driver became aware of the problem when he began to hear the dogs barking, police said. The driver stopped at the business Road Ranger on Ripley Street to inspect the cargo area. He observed multiple dogs experiencing heat-related medical distress.
He removed the dogs, which were crated, and soon after authorities arrived at the scene. At the same time, civilians stopped to help in any way they could, police said. The scene was described as chaotic and "took an emotional toll on all that were involved in trying to save as many canines as possible."
Unfortunately, multiple dogs died.
Police said the incident was a "freak event" – and that "Any loss of life is tragic."
"We can’t express enough our heartfelt condolences for the loss of some of the canines," the Lake Station Police Department said in a statement.