For Immediate Release:
August 31, 2023
Brittney Williams; 202-483-7382
Lake Station, Ind. – The Lake County Prosecutor’s Office has requested that the Indiana State Police investigate the heat-related deaths of at least eight dogs who were being transported by FMK9 inside an unventilated box truck to a training facility last month. Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch:
Nothing can bring back the dogs who slowly baked to death inside an airless, hot truck, but this is a step in the right direction toward ensuring that those responsible for their terrible suffering are held accountable and that preventive measures are put in place to avoid a devastating repeat. PETA joined the Humane Society of Hobart and the Lake Station community in pushing for this third-party investigation and trusts that the Indiana State Police (which has previously purchased K-9s from this company) will proceed with due diligence, for the sake of the dogs, the public’s faith, and the law.
Nearly 20 dogs were apparently left to bake in 91-degree heat—a temperature at which the inside of a vehicle can reach 110 degrees in 10 minutes—while the driver sat in traffic for hours. According to reports, when he finally pulled over, several dogs were already dead—and although representatives of the Humane Society of Hobart were on the scene almost immediately, the Lake Station Police Department blocked them from assisting the distressed dogs, forcing rescuers who had access to multiple air-conditioned vehicles to stand by as dogs suffered. The police then allowed the driver to leave the scene with both deceased and live dogs unsecured in the open back of the truck. PETA has discovered that Lake Station Police Chief James Richardson apparently had an existing relationship with the owner and operator of the company that was transporting the dogs, Mike McHenry of FMK9.
In the weeks that followed the incident, PETA called out the Lake Station Police Department for censoring public comments calling for justice for the dogs. The group sent a letter to City Attorney Frank J. Koprcina and Richardson warning them that the department’s practice of deleting, hiding, and restricting critical social media comments about the incident was a violation of the First Amendment. The group also led supporters in a demonstration outside Lake Station City Hall, calling for an independent investigation.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.