Northeast DC animal shelter loses air conditioning during extreme heat, 21 dogs relocated

A D.C. animal shelter system had to scramble to get almost two dozen dogs out of their Northeast location after the building’s air conditioning system went down during a stretch of extreme heat for the D.C. region.

The Humane Rescue Alliance moved 21 dogs from its shelter at 1201 New York Avenue NE and placed into temporary foster homes until repairs were made.

It’s believed the air conditioning suddenly stopped at some point on Tuesday night.

“It had something to do with a fuse and the power coming into the building,” said Barbara Hutcherson, vice president of operations for Humane Rescue.

Hutcherson said repair crews worked couldn’t get the system running again by the next morning, so the dogs were taken to their other location at 71 Oglethorpe Street NW.

Humane Rescue then began to reach out to its foster home community to see if people could take in the dogs for at least 72 hours until repairs were made.

All of the dogs were successfully placed in homes that morning.

“People stepped up,” Hutcherson said. “Within the first hour, we had more than a dozen foster homes identified and it was only a couple more hours before we had more than 25.”

Hutcherson said an extreme heat situation like they had, indoors is especially dangerous for dogs.

“Dogs don’t sweat the way humans do, so they pant,” Hutcherson said. “That’s the only way they can cool themselves off so they just don’t have the ability to adjust in the same way humans do.”

Hutcherson said the air conditioning is back on again at their New York Avenue building, with plans to monitor the cooling system through Wednesday night before taking the dogs back.

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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