As Oprah-approved "self-help" guru James Arthur Ray prepares for sentencing after getting convicted of negligent homicide for the deaths of three people at a sweat lodge ceremony, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are trying to capitalize on the publicity his case received -- by comparing the victims of his fatal death lodge to dogs who get stuck in hot cars.
PETA is negotiating with outdoor advertisers near Sedona, the sight of Ray's deadly "Spiritual Warrior" self-help retreat, to display a billboard showing a distressed dog in a parked car next to the caption "A Sweat Lodge Can Kill You. A Parked Car Can Kill Him. Dogs Overheat Faster Than Humans."
"Leaving a dog in a hot car is as dangerous as locking a person in a sweat lodge," says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. "The rule is simple: When the weather turns warm, never leave your dog in the car."
Three people died and several others were injured during Ray's 2009 death lodge ceremony.
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One of the victims, 49-year-old Liz Neuman of Prior Lake, Minnesota died of multiple-organ failure after the ceremony. The other two victims, 38-year-old Kirby Brown of Westtown, New York, and 40-year-old James Shore of Wisconsin, each fell victim to heat stroke after being in the sweat tent.
Pooches can suffer a similar fate if left in a hot car.
According to PETA, "on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Dogs can quickly succumb to dehydration and heatstroke and suffer brain damage or even death as a result. Dogs should always be left at home--inside--during hot weather. Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through their footpads and cool themselves by panting."
Click here for more on PETA's billboard.