Demand Justice for Golden Retriever Left Out in the Sun to Die
  • Petitioned Brad Hill

This petition was delivered to:

Chief, Evansville IN Police Department
Brad Hill
Executive Director, Evansville IN Department of Transportation and Services
Edward Ziemer
Mayor, City of Evansville, IN
Jonathan Weinzapfel

Demand Justice for Golden Retriever Left Out in the Sun to Die

    1. Hand 4Paws
    2. Petition by

      Hand 4Paws

      Albuquerque, United States

October 2011


A Golden Retriever in Evansville, Indiana was left out in the sun to die during a summer heat wave. It shouldn't have happened -- a neighbor called animal control when she saw the dog suffering, but authorities did nothing to help the dog. When the animal advocates of Hand4Paws learned of the dog's tragic death, they mobilized more than 11,000 people to sign a petition demanding that Evansville officials take responsibility for the inaction of the animal control officers.

Hand4Paws and its supporters kept the pressure on for an investigation, which led to the Golden Retriever's owner being charged with misdemeanor animal neglect. Also thanks to the public outcry, the Evansville/Vanderburgh County Animal Control Commission revisited its ordinance for the first time in 30 years and is rewriting it to better protect the animals of the community. 

While residents of Evansville, Indiana battled temperatures soaring above 95 degrees by staying indoors, one resident showed little regard for a pet dog left outside in the deadly heat. The dog, a golden retriever, would die a cruel death within days.  Locked in an outdoor kennel, with no shady spot to find relief from the hot sun. The only protection was a plastic igloo house.  Evansville Animal Control superintendent Monica Freeman admitted to WFIE news the plastic igloo house would not be sufficient protection from the hot weather.

A concerned neighbor, Phyllis Mayer, made three phone calls to Evansville Animal Control, attempting to get assistance. Her first call described how the dog was in distress, how it was panting and pacing.  When they did nothing, she called again the next day. An animal control officer came out after the second phone call, but determined there was no neglect involved, even though the Evansville Municipal Code Ordinance calls for sufficient shade to be provided “when sunlight is likely to cause overheating, serious bodily injury or death of the animal.” 

Reference: Evansville Municipal Code Ordinance Chapter 6.05 Section 6.05.060 (C)(1) Requirements for custodians of animals: 

Yet the animal control officer left the dog out in the hot sun, in a kennel with no shade.

Sadly, the last call Phyllis Mayer made was a 911 call to inform that the dog had died. The Evansville police are now investigating to see whether criminal charges should be filed.

This petition respectfully requests that an investigation be conducted and criminal charges filed against the dog’s owner, who left the dog out in the hot sun to die and against the Evansville animal control officer involved, who could have saved this dogs life, but offered no assistance. 

For more information on this story:

Image courtesy of:  Penny Eims, Dog News Examiner,


This petition will be updated as more information becomes available; however, the intent will remain the same.


Recent signatures


    1. Court date for Marcy Shelton has been rescheduled for November 21, 2011

      Hand 4Paws
      Petition Organizer

      We will keep you updated on any new developments. Thank you so much for signing!

    2. Changes coming to Animal Control in Vanderburgh Co

      Hand 4Paws
      Petition Organizer

      The Evansville/Vanderburgh County Animal Control commission is re-writing its ordinance for the first time in 30 years.

      The public is invited to the commission's next meeting on October 7 at 12:30 p.m. at the Civic Center.

    3. First court date set in Animal Neglect case

      Hand 4Paws
      Petition Organizer

      The woman responsible for the death of the golden retriever has a court date set for October 20th. The necropsy report shows the dog died of a heat stroke.

    4. Reached 10,000 signatures
    5. Death of Golden Retriever Left Out in Heat Investigated

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      “We’re trying to investigate if our officers acted correctly and if the owner of the animal did anything out of the ordinary,” said Ed Ziemer of the city’s Transportation and Services Department, which oversees Animal Control.

    6. Reached 7,000 signatures
    7. Evansville Animal Control Officer Leaves Dog to Die in the Heat

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      It's sweltering here in the Midwest. Temperatures are at record highs, and humanitarians like Phyllis Mayer of Evansville, Indiana are keeping an eye out for dogs that might die from the heat.
      So, when she noticed a Golden Retriever in severe...

    8. Reached 2,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Laura Cybak PENNSBURG, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      Not only should the home owners be convicted of ANIMAL ABUSE...the role should be shared by the Animal Control Officers that did not respond to the first call. Then negelected to do anything after the other calls, knowing that animal was in distress. Only caring when the poor Baby had su ffered in the cruelest way.

    • Lillian Seward LUTZ, FL
      • over 2 years ago

      People need to do their job and enforce the law! Both the owner and officer should face charges and consequences of their actions or lack there of. Please don't let this precious animals death be in vain, let it serve to help other animals in need.

    • Mary Gordon THERMOPOLIS, WY
      • over 2 years ago

      The owner deserves jail. The ACO should be fired. The Town laws need to be addressed. The neighbor is probably still traumatized.

    • Heather Smith ST LOUIS, MO
      • over 2 years ago

      A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. -John Holmes

      My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. -Author Unknown

    • Katherine McHughen EDMONTON, CANADA
      • over 2 years ago

      Animan Control should have saved this dog. If they are too busy then give them more funds. If they don't have enough power, give them new laws. If the officer was lacking in wisdom or compassion, punish that individual and implement morale-boosting programs of some sort, to keep the other officers motivated. Situations like this are the reason Animal Control EXISTS... how can they simply walk away from something so clearly needing their intervention?


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