Imagine you are walking through the parking lot after a day of shopping and you come across a car that has a dog in it. It’s a blistering 100 degree day and the windows are rolled up. You notice the dog is panting heavily. What do you do?
Did you know that the temperature inside a car can rise almost 20 degrees in 10 minutes? And in 20 minutes the temperature inside a car can rise 30 degrees. That’s too hot for us humans let along a dog. Humans have sweat glands that allow us to keep our bodies cool by sweating. Dogs can only sweat from the pads of their paws and pant to cool their body temperature. If a dog has only hot air to breathe they can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. In 10-15 minutes an animal's body temperature can climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels. The adverse health effects can be damage of the nervous and cardiovascular systems and can leave the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.
Every year dogs will be left in hot cars and will die from heatstroke. This time of year especially the Humane Society receives a high number of calls of dogs left in hot cars. Remember that response time is crucial!. We recommend keeping the essential numbers to call in an emergency stored in your phone, include local law enforcement as the local police more often then not can be on the scene far quicker then other agencies. A First Aid kit geared towards pets and their needs can also come in quite handy on the scene.
So what can YOU do if you see a dog trapped in a hot car?
- Take down the car’s make, model, license-plate number and color.
- If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner.
- If the owner can’t be found, or too much time has passed, call the non-emergency number of your local police department, Humane Officer, or Animal Control
- Wait near the dog until help arrives.
What the authorities can do:
- Peace Officer, Humane Officer, or Animal Control Officer is authorized to take all steps that are reasonably necessary for the removal of an animal from a motor vehicle.
- Must leave written notice bearing his or her name and office, and the address of the location where the animal can be claimed.
California Penal Code 597.7:
An animal cannot be left or confined in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.
- First conviction: Fine not exceeding $100 per animal.
- If the animal suffers great bodily injury, a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 6 months, or by both.
- Any subsequent violation of this section, regardless of injury to the animal, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 6 months, or by both.