Rescuing Dogs in Cars a Hot Topic

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I went to a mall yesterday with a friend to beat the heat, but before we made it inside, my friend and I heard a crying dog in the parking lot. We were able to find the car by the whimpering sounds and the telltale cracked windows. Pretty soon we were joined by an elderly woman and her older mother hobbling along with a cane who also heard the cries. Though the oldest woman looked frail, she didn't hesitate to state that she was ready to string someone up for leaving the precious dog in the heat. And I believe she would have too! Don't mess with a mad 90+ grandma on the war path!

I could see that the dog was otherwise well cared for, and felt sad that the owner had made such a poor misjudgement, but a life was on the line. Grandma wanted to call 911. After reaching inside the window of the car to test the temperature and finding it still cool from the air conditioning, I decided that a graceful way of dealing with the situation was to contact mall security, which we did so through a store clerk. They were able to contact the owner, and everyone learned a lesson: thankfully, not the hardest kind.

Even Police K-9 Units are at Risk

Many pets die in hot cars every year, even in the care of responsible owners. In fact, last year, a police dog in Texas died, even though his officer left the car running with the AC on. The air conditioning apparently failed.

Another two police dogs from Texas just died a few days ago in a police vehicle with the officer on administrative leave during the investigation. It is a terrible loss and devastating to an officer with an otherwise spotless record who had worked in the K-9 unit for over a decade.

Time is of the Essence

People just don't seem to realize how fast the temperature changes in a car. Even on a temperate day of just 85 degrees, it only takes ten minutes to reach 102. Within a half an hour, it could get to 120.  And with the heat wave of the summer, those figures will get hotter faster. Dogs don't cool as efficiently as humans, either. Panting helps a little, but they have fewer sweat glands, so they will overheat quickly. Douse overheated dogs with cool water help bring their body temperature down.

Bringing Attention to a Hot Topic

The news is full of stories of dogs having to be broken out of parked cars and people being charged with animal cruelty and endangerment. And of course PETA is doing their best to draw attention to the issue, putting a beautiful model in a hot car, who is doing a dramatic interpretation of what it feels like to a dog to be trapped. It's never classy to demean women to save animals, but PETA knows sex gets attention. Thankfully, this particular video is fairly benign.

Personally, I'd rather put money on Grandma for a better public service announcement: "DON'T LEAVE DOGS OR CHILDREN IN HOT CARS, OR I WILL STRING YOU UP!"

Photo: From Shutterstock. All rights reserved.

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CECILIA KELLAM on July 30 at 8:54 AM said:

I LIVE IN FL. SO I AM WELL AWARE OF THE DANGER OF TAKING MY PET IN THE CAR IN THIS HEAT,SHE POUTS WHEN I EXPLAIN SHE CANNOT GO,BUT SHE RECOVERS FAST.WAY TO GO GRANDMA!!!!
Anna on July 30 at 9:44 AM said:

I myselft recently saw a dog locked in a car with the windows barley cracked on a hot day. By the time I loaded my groceries into the car the owner appeared & I gave them a few things to think about. Like why dont' they try sitting in the car with the windows cracked on a 95 degree day and see how they liked it and if they didn't have enough sense to leave the car running with the a/c on or leave fido at home in the a/c then they shouldn't own a dog, let alone be allowed to have children! (Okay the last was a bit over the top but if they'll do it to a dog how far of a stretch is it?)
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