Reports of six dogs dying after being left inside an unattended van at the former Blackwater private security services firm in northeastern North Carolina have caused a stir as people question the way the animals were treated.
The incident occurred July 8 at the 7,000-acre training center in Moyock owned by private security services firm Academi, WAVY in Portsmouth, Va., reported. The center, formerly known as Blackwater, boasts on its website to be the largest privately-owned training center in the United States.
The dogs – German shepherds and Belgian Malinois – were said to have died after the air conditioning failed in the van where two handlers had placed them 35 minutes earlier.
Four employees of the firm were dismissed because they took 28 dogs out of a kennel to be cleaned while no more than four dogs were supposed to be out at the same time, company leader Paul Donahue told WAVY.
Donahue also told WTKR in Norfolk that the center does not put dogs in air-conditioned vehicles as a standard practice and that the handlers’ intentions in doing so were to help the dogs cool down on a hot day.
Some people reacting to the story on Facebook didn’t care much about the handlers’ intentions.
“Absolutely zero excuse for this,” Margaret Ivins Matthews wrote. “This means that they were in the vehicle long enough for the ac to die, warm up, then heat up to death levels. Someone should have been checking on them constantly. This isn’t an accident if you aren’t following through properly.”
Keith Hardwick and others were less sympathetic over the death of the dogs: “You wackjobs get more upset about dogs dying than you do seniors dying in an apartment fire,” Hardwick commented.
Another man, Gregory Pope II, was more willing to pardon the handlers.
“Sad story but the story don’t read like this was intentional, the AC was turned on for the dogs and the system failed,” he wrote. “Sounds like a horrible accident (IMO).”