A pit bull had been left to suffer burns on the scorching roof of a city building for 10 hours before it was discovered and brought to the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, officials said Wednesday.

"The pads on his feet are now completely burned off," said Barrie A. Pease, president of the board of directors at the shelter. He said the Rescue League has not been able to find the owner of the dog, which was found Tuesday evening on the roof of a building in the 700 block of North Front Street.

"He's a sweetheart and well-behaved, so we know he has an owner," Pease said.

ARL Executive Director Harry D. Brown III said the pit bull also had burned nipples, suggesting that he tried to lay down on the hot roof because his feet were in so much pain.

Brown said the dog was discovered when Reading police called the shelter to inform them the pit bull was stranded on a roof. He said once the shelter's on-call employee arrived at the building, the dog had been brought down to the porch and was panting a lot and obviously dehydrated.

"Our vet washed (his wounds) out, then put medication on them, wrapped him up and put him on antibiotics and (other) medication," Brown said. "When he walks, you can tell it hurts him."

However, the pit bull, which Brown says is probably about 2 years old, is expected to make a full recovery.

"It's just going to take a little time," he said.

Leaving your dog outside in unbearable extreme heat like Berks County has been experiencing all week is dangerous for the pet, Brown said.

"They can have heat strokes, like people," he said.

The Humane Society of Berks County Inc. has been experiencing similar emergencies this week, keeping their officers on high alert, said Dylan Heckart, director of development and public relations.

Heckart said the Humane Society's officers have had to remove one dog from its owner, have given out two citations for violating the state's animal cruelty law and have received 30 complaint calls of dogs being left outside in the heat over the past few days.

"It's intensely too hot to have your dog outside today," Heckart said Wednesday.

He said it is extremely important for dog owners to understand that if it's too hot for you to be outside, it is even worse for your pet to be outside.

"He's got a fur coat," Heckart said.

Owners should bring their dogs inside to a basement or garage where the cement is much cooler and safer for the pets, Brown said.

Although there is no specific temperature that is clearly too hot for dogs to be outdoors, Heckart said dogs would not be able to handle temperatures ranging from 90 to 100 degrees, plus high humidity.

"This weather is absolutely deadly," he said. "Dogs have a limited ability to shed excess heat."

Heckart said because of this, dogs are very susceptible to overheating and organ failure.

"If they have to be outside, make sure they're in shade and have fresh, clean water all day," Brown said.

However, both Brown and Heckart said the best method for dog owners is to keep their pets indoors for the animals' safety, especially the rest of this week as the heat is expected to become more intense.

Contact Rose Schneider: 610-371-5038 or rschneider@readingeagle.com.