An adoption event at an Ocala, Florida PetSmart store ended in tragedy when one of the Humane Society’s adoptable dogs, Rollin, died after being left in the rescue organization’s transport van alone and suffering for more than 2 hours.
The Humane Society of Marion County partnered with PetSmart to hold its annual dog adoption event last weekend. But, when two dogs began barking excessively, the pair – Willow and Rollin – were placed inside the shelter’s transport van, with the air conditioner running.
An unfortunate miscommunication between a store employee and a rescue volunteer led to the tragic death.
“The store manager called my employee here and asked them to come pick up a dog. And that was the key word, a dog,” Marion County Humane Society Executive Director, Bruce Fishalow explained to WCJB News.
On the drive back to the Humane Society, Willow somehow escaped her cage and made her way to the front of the van.
According to the Humane Society, when the driver returned, she opened this side of the van, looking inside and seeing only one dog. Not realizing that there was also one in the back.”
After dropping off Willow at the rescue center, the driver returned to PetSmart, got out of the van, and handed over the keys. Rollin, a 1-year old Aussie-mix, was left in the hot car.
A volunteer working at the adoption event discovered Rollin’s body about two and a half hours later.
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The Humane Society of Marion County says they’ve now adopted new procedures, including a transport log, to be sure something like this never happens again.
“We want to start a whole campaign called Rollin’s rules about how easy it is to forget something in a car, be it a dog or a child… It was the perfect storm for a disaster and we’re all devastated, we’re all heartbroken for Rollin,” said Fishalow.