Sydney – A police dog in Australia became the latest victim of blazing temperatures sweeping across parts of eastern Australia on Friday when it died from heat stroke after chasing a car thief in northern state of Queensland.
Police said Waco, an eight-year-old German Shepherd, was tracking an offender who had fled on foot from a stolen car in Deception Bay, north of Brisbane, when the handler noticed that the dog was becoming unsteady on his feet, an early sign of heat stress.
The dog was provided water and transported to a nearby veterinary clinic, but died a few hours later after efforts to lower his body temperature and replace fluids were unsuccessful.
The sweltering heat made Friday the hottest February day on record in Queensland, with Birdsville posting a temperature of 46.2 degrees Celsius, according to Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Government data shows that heat stress is Australia’s number one natural killer, accounting for the deaths of more people than floods, bush fires and storms, with more than 500 deaths each year.
The Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane experienced their hottest months on record in January this year, with five days recorded above 35 degrees Celsius, the Bureau of Meteorology said Wednesday.
The record-breaking high temperatures have been blamed on strong westerly winds, unusually dry conditions with less than average rainfall, and climate change