Clueless hiker arrested after dog dies from heat-related illness

Rear view of friends walking with dog while hiking in forest against sky
An Arizona hiker faces charges after his dog succumbed to the heat despite a ban on hiking with dogs (Image credit: Getty Images)

A hiker has been arrested after taking his dog out on an Arizona trail in dangerously hot conditions, resulting in its death.

The 29-year-old man set out with two dogs on the Summit Trail of Piestewa Peak north of Phoenix despite an excessive heat warning in the area which bans hiking with dogs between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

According to 12 News, the hiker called 911 for help around 11 a.m. when temperatures were above 100°F, reporting that he and his dogs were suffering from heat-related illness. Once temperatures reach 80°F, it is too hot to go hiking with dogs, regardless of breed, age or condition. Unlike humans, dogs can't sweat through their skin and rely on panting to stay cool. Adding strenuous activity to extreme heat puts dogs and higher risk of developing heatstroke.

A rescue team met the hiker about 300 yards from the trailhead, however one dog – a Rhodesian Ridgeback – had already perished. The hiker was walked off the trail where he was arrested and subsequently charged with animal neglect. The surviving dog is being treated for heat-related illness.

Even in a state that is used to scorching summer temperatures, Arizona's heatwave this summer is proving unbearable, with daytime highs remaining in the triple digits. Officials in Arizona are reminding hikers that dogs are banned from Phoenix trails when temperatures reach 100°F.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.