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home : latest news : latest news October 13, 2015

4/23/2012 9:27:00 PM
WARNING: Don't leave your pet in a hot car / Illustration / Illustration
Lisa Irish
The Daily Courier

As the weather warms up, pet owners are reminded to not leave pets in their cars while they run errands because temperatures inside the car can rise quickly, said Prescott Animal Control Supervisor Shannon Gray.

When its 85 degrees outside, even with car windows slightly open, the temperature inside can climb to 102 degrees in 10 minutes and to 120 degrees in a half hour, Gray said, but a dog can only withstand a body temperature of 107 for a short period of time before suffering irreparable brain damage, heart problems, liver damage or even death.

"We understand that people want to take their dog with them when they go on errands. This is a very dog-friendly city," Gray said. "But if it's too hot for you to sit in the car, then it's too hot for your dog."

When Animal Control responds to a call of a dog in a car, officers will take photos of the incident, record the temperature of the dog and the car, and speak to the owner about the danger the situation presents their pet.

"A good part of our work is owner education," Gray said.

Many times a warning works, but owners need to realize that leaving an animal unattended and confined in a motor vehicle which can harm the animal is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,500, as long as 6 months in jail and a maximum of three years' probation, Gray said.

If people see a dog in a car that seems to be in distress, they should call Animal Control, the police or 911 quickly. Signs that a dog is suffering from a heat-related illness are excessive panting, heavy drooling, increased heart rate, trouble breathing, disorientation, loss of consciousness, and seizures.

Pet owners who want to take their pets along with them as they do their errands should put their pets on a leash or carrier and bring the pets with them instead of leaving them in the car, Gray said.

There are many pet-friendly businesses in town. Pet owners can also use the drive-thrus, and patronize local restaurants that have patios where pets on leashes or in carriers are welcome, Gray said.

If it is a particularly warm day, owners should consider leaving their pet at home where it's cool, Gray said.

Or, take another person along to sit in the car with the dog while running the air conditioner, Gray said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Just Yesterday

Just yesterday I was hoping for just such an article to be written so I am glad to see it. To: An American....dogs need moving air as a cooling down mechanism, so other places that are hotter than here, if a dog is outside with shade and water, they can move around to cool down some. Why are you exposing yourself as someone who has no compassion for the cruelty of an animal? People, our pets are completely at our mercy and give us unconditional love, treat them in kind. They can't speak for themselves. An aside, Walmart will make a dog in car announcement, Target will not, let them both know how you view their policies.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: TO I PROMISE

"If I see an animal that looks in distress due to being locked in a hot vehicle I will make it a point to break the windows to not only help the animal but teach the owner a lesson."

An added benefit of that activity is that you are likely to be taught a lesson, as well.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

@"He is all knowing", I am not all knowing but I am experienced. Against better judgement, lets chat, as friends.

You see a crowd gathered round a jail demanding a prisoner stand before THEIR justice. Do you light the mob's torches, call for order or accuse the fellow asking for civility before action of embarking on a ego trip?

Careful how you answer, the car window you save may be your own. :-)

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: He is all knowing...

The Rev - Thanks again for being the subject matter expert no matter what the subejct....some ego you've got there, lad.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Summer Rain

I never understood the lack of intelligence people have! Who had to take their dogs with them in HOT summer inside their vehicles or in back of their trucks. It is way too hot for them to travel with their owner in these conditions. Perhaps we should put the *stupid* humans and locked them in the vehicle with no water, shade, or air turned on with windows rolled up tight. Perhaps we should put the *stupid* humans in back of a pick -up truck with no water, no shade, only to BOIL in the hot sun!

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Marianne Elizabeth Vangalio

This too ~ It seems unkind to transport a dog in back of uncovered pickup trucks.

Some truck beds are lined with black tarp ~ ouch ~ hot on the paws.

Sudden stops, swerves, accident can force an animal out the back/side of truck.

This article isn't about children ~ nevertheless, parents who ignore the elements and leave their child in a hot car, even for a "moment" should secure serious

Back to the pickup trucks. Why are children allowed to ride in back of pickup trucks if Arizona has a seat belt law?
Thus far no-one I have contacted has been able to answer this question. Can you?

If you really care about the safety of your child and pet please consider them first and not yourselves.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: One time at Fry's

I had to run into the store to fill a script and my dog was with me. I used a second set of keys and left the A/C running on high for her and parked in the shade. But, some bleeding heart felt that was too cruel and was ready to rip me a new one, until I showed her the A/C was on and how cool it really was in the car.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

Before we go off centre punching windscreens perhaps a definition of "heat distress" is warranted. In my experience, after taking into account the ambient temperature, these patients visibly present as extremely lethargic and unresponsive to verbal command. (They looked drugged out)

Does a current professional have a better take on this?

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Reed Winfrey

Please also remember that the bed in a pick up truck is usually made of steel and without a shade it can be like putting your pet on the BBQ at home. HOT, HOT, HOT.

Pets away from their owners usually stress and if you add heat it gets much harder on them.

Make your pet a welfare pet, let them stay home on the couch with the A/C on while you go do the chores.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Love My Dog AND understand physics

Thanks for this article. It should also be explained to some of the people who are commenting that it IS possible, and common, for well-meaning pet lovers to become unjustifiably alarmed when they see an animal in a vehicle on a hot day. For instance, if the animal is in a vehicle but it's 9 am and isn't hot outside yet... or the windows are down... or the car is parked in the shade of a large tree, etc. I've seen people almost come to blows with other dog owners when the animal was in absolutely no danger and the person just didn't have a full grasp of physics.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: I Promise

If I see an animal that looks in distress due to being locked in a hot vehicle I will make it a point to break the windows to not only help the animal but teach the owner a lesson. Don't take your animal with you if you are going to leave them in the car.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Van Krunk

@ an American, I live all the FACTS (or lack of) you quoted and you might also look up "body temperature"...Just FYI

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Kind of Amazes Me

Kind of amazes me that people have to be reminded of this year after year, but they do. To me, it seems to be a no-brainer, yet there are those who will leave a pet or a small child in a hot car "for a few minutes" and then tragedy strikes.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: 60 Grit

We witnessed police looking for animals left in cars yesterday. Be good to your animals!

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Van Krunk

If you see an animal distressed in a car, get the animal out any way you can and call the Police!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Kenny H

Here's one that pet owners do not think about. If you are going to take Fluffy with you, don't let them ride in your freakin lap! Do you know even realize how dangerous it is for you and Fluffy if you have a head on collision and the air bag goes off? Seriously? I see it all the time and it needs to stop. Just leave Fluffy at home if you can't understand how dangerous it is. If you do this because you don't want Fluffy to be alone, then get them a friend for those days you can't be there. If you can't do that, then you are not being a responsible pet owner and probably shouldn't own one in the first place. Common sense people (a rare commodity these days).

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Brian Boru

Another way to protect your pet is to have fan in the window. A properly-sized electric fan can move enough air to keep the car interior at the same temperature as the air outside.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: An American

If a dog can not survive above *107 degrees, would you have have us believe that all dogs in Phoenix, Gila Bend, Yuma, etc, will die each summer if they are not kept in an air conditioned building??? I have seen on tv, cops busting out a car window to "save" a dog, the owner gets fined, and humiliated on the news, and the poor dog, who miraculously survived will be up for adoption a week later......So at what temperature are we now animal abusers???? The humane society, peta and others murder millions of animals for profit each year, and that is okay.........If the do-gooders would just mind their own business and restrict their meddling to offering a service and education for those who want it, the world would be a better place.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: It Should Be a Felony!!!!!!!!! Absolute Animal Cruelty!

Imminent Justice...have the owners of these poor animals sit it a hot car with the windows barely open for 1 hour and see if they survive. This is abusive behavior and should be punishable by law and a hefty fine. Even when the temp is cold outside, your car still heats inside from the sun! Despicable human beings who do this to animals!!!

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Prescott Star

To A W - what was that rant? My dog is allergic to most people and yet he still sucks it up and crawls all over people just for the love. Love is very important to a dog so he sucks it up for love. I am allergic to people like you yet I tend to still like you and tolerate you....I suck it up so I don't make a scene and tell you what is really wrong with you and where you should be addidition to people, I am allergic to my 4 pets and I am told that my life can be easier for me without symptoms might go away but they would take my heart with them. And Iiving without pets would be daming me to a life of depression and hell like conditions...nope, I will suck it up...I might suggest you do the same.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: A W

However, please remember your manners. Not ALL businesses are pet friendly. Some people (who really LOVE dogs) are highly allergic to them. If asked to, please take your dog (or other animal) back outside, don't have a temper tantrum and act like a fool. Understand that sometimes, people's health comes first. If it's just too hot to leave poor Fifi in the car, next time, leave them home.

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