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Safety Tip: A Hot Car is No Place for Pets!

Published Aug 17th 2007, 4:00pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles
Dog_in_car2I was getting groceries the other day and came out of the store to find a car parked next to mine with a dog locked inside. The windows were up, and it was a warm afternoon.

I waited a few minutes until the owner came out of the store and got into his vehicle. I walked over to talk to him about his dog.  "Kinda warm for him, isn't it?" I asked. His answer was a one-finger salute as he drove off. This guy knew what he did was wrong, and he knew he'd been caught doing it.


It's time to make a stand. Every one of us needs to become proactive and do something to stop stupid people from inadvertently killing their pets.  Have I got your attention, yet? Read on, because you and I need to do something to help some innocent animals.

There was a story last summer about a dog that died because he was left alone in a parked car in the heat. Death from hyperthermia. It's an awful way to die. And of course it didn't have to happen.

The dog's owner had left him with his brother, who forgot the dog was in his car. The brother, who later surrendered to authorities, had gone off to play cards at a local gambling spot, and he'd lost all track of time. He left this dog in the car during the dark, early-morning hours. But as the sun came up, so did the temperature inside that car

When this guy left the card room later that morning, he found his brother's dog dead. There was evidence the poor pooch had suffered seizures before dying, as is often the case with heat stroke. It had, indeed, been very ugly.

Perhaps the only difference in this story is that this fellow actually felt remorse. It sounds as though he was devastated by what happened. Many times, these events are simply written off. I've heard some people say, "C'mon, it was only a dog." No big deal, right? Sadly, they don't care. But this guy seemed truly stricken by his misdeed.

The inside of a car can heat up quickly, even when the weather is relatively mild. It can hit 100 degrees in a car parked in the sun even when the outside temp is only in the mid-70s. And on hotter days, temps of 110 and higher are easy marks. Dogs, cats and people don't stand a chance in heat like that for very long.

Too many people are either unaware or just don't care about these dangers. Time and again, dogs and cats are left alone in a car, their owners off somewhere to make purchases or run errands. Chances are, these people didn't read the story about that dog. And even if they saw the column, they might not change their ways. 

So, here's where you and I step in. If you see a car with an unattended pet, wait a few moments for the owners to return. If they don't, do something to save that pet. If he seems the least bit stressed, call for help. Cars get too hot too quickly in the warmer months. Don't stand by idly, and don't just walk away. Call 911. Take a stand.

Someone near that dog must have seen that poor dog in that parked car. If only that someone had reported it to the police or even the manager of the card room, that dog might still be alive. I'll wager there were at least a few folks who could have saved that pooch with a simple phone call.

If you see something you don't think is right, tell someone or call the local authorities. Make a statement! It might save a life. By the way, several readers told me about a fellow seen driving in San Martin and Morgan Hill with a dog riding loose on the flat bed of his truck. This guy's dog isn't tied down with any restraint, and it wanders around on the back of that truck as he goes down the road.

Well, guess what? One of these people did make a stand. She called the sheriff's office to report this guy. It's not just dangerous for this dog, buddy. It's illegal to have a pet unrestrained in the back of any truck.

The North Shore Animal League America has some great safety tips and also issued a statement urging pet owners to be responsible in this summer heat!

Jody_devere_v71_2 by Jody DeVere

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