A Newport News, Va., man is charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty after two dogs that he owned died of heat stroke last week.
According to ABC affiliate WVEC, Delmonte Crawford, 19, told police that he fed the dogs and gave them water before leaving for work July 4. Temperatures that day reached 90 degrees, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Animal control became aware of the dogs when a neighbor called and reported the pets the afternoon of July 5. Officers said the dead pitbull mixes were found tied to a patio door in back of the townhouse where Crawford lives.
Authorities determined the cause of death to be heat stroke. In an interview with WVEC, Newport News Animal Services officer Christine Riley explained the hazards of excessive heat to dogs.
"Their bodies shut down. They start to have seizures, and then -- pretty much -- their insides cook," Riley told the station.
Crawford was also issued summonses for failing to provide the animals with adequate food, water and shelter, Newport News spokeswoman Kim Lee told the Hampton Roads Daily Press.
If Crawford is convicted of felony animal cruelty, he could be banned from owning future pets under Virginia law.
In order to prevent heat stroke, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends keeping pets indoors during extreme heat. Barring that, ample water and shade should be provided.