New England Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch has more on his mind than just Sunday’s big game against his old team, the Seahawks. Coming to Arizona reminded him of the dogs he lost there last summer. 23 dogs total were lost, including four of Branch’s own, when the Green Acre Boarding Facility in Gilbert, AZ, was discovered to have insufficient air conditioning.
Coping with loss
Branch, who has a home in Arizona, had to leave his five dogs at the facility while he attended a funeral. When he returned, four of them – Tonka, Buick, Francis, and Snickers – had died from heat exhaustion, the Boston Globe explained.
The event has become widely known as the “Gilbert 23,” the Globe reported. Initially the facility told Branch that his dogs had died after chewing through a fence and escaping, however, a sheriff’s investigation revealed a different story. The kennel owners actually left the facility in control of two other people, who kept 28 dogs in a 9-foot-by-12-foot space that had only one air conditioning vent. Overnight, the air conditioner stopped working, and 23 dogs were found dead in the morning.
“It was definitely rough,” Branch said at the Super Bowl’s Media Day, as reported by the Globe. “I’m bouncing back slowly but surely from the loss. … Fortunately we’re getting through it. The kids aren’t crying or waking up crying missing their dogs right now. I think we’re doing better.”
Branch has two young daughters who were affected by the incident, as were many people around the state, according to the Globe. While the facility’s owners and the second set of caretakers were initially charged with a number of felonies, a judge reduced the charges to the outrage of many residents. Branch called for better laws in Arizona related to dog safety at boarding facilities to prevent a problem like this from happening again.
Protect your dog from extreme heat
When the temperatures are high, your pooch needs your help to stay cool and safe. Dogs can’t sweat or cool down the way humans can, so you’ll need to provide them with a space that’s cool and gives them a break from the heat. Air conditioning is optimal, but fans, shade and breezes can help as well.
In high heat, dogs need more water than usual, so make sure their bowl is constantly full. Additionally, take your pooch for walks early in the day and late in the evening to avoid the hottest weather, Petfinder recommended. Keep them off hot pavement and never leave them in a car alone.