What To Do If You See a Dog Left In a Car
Just a few minutes spent in a parked car on a hot summer day can cause brain damage, heatstroke, and even death. And contrary to popular belief, leaving the windows down or parking in the shade does not diminish the threat of heatstroke.
We’ve discussed how to keep your pets safe in the heat on the blog before, but sadly, many pet owners are still unaware of the dangers of leaving dogs in the car on a sunny day. According to the PETA website, “parked cars are death traps for dogs.” On a 70-degree day, the interior of a vehicle can jump to more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes or less. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach nearly 160 degrees!
Thankfully, leaving a dog in a hot car is illegal in Connecticut and cruelty to animals can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony with fines of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in prison. Here’s what you can do if you see a dog left alone in a hot car:
1. Take down the color, make, model and license plate number of the vehicle.
2. Go to the nearest building and have the employees page the owner of the vehicle.
3. Contact the local humane society and/or police station.
4. If the dog’s owner does not readily appear and authorities are unresponsive, try to safely remove the animal from the vehicle.
5. Look for heatstroke symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst, fever, heavy panting, rapid heartbeat, restlessness or vomiting. If the dog shows any of these symptoms, they need to be taken to the veterinarian immediately.
6. If you are able to remove the suffering dog from the vehicle, but cannot transport them to the vet, take them to an air conditioned building, provide plenty of drinking water, place them in front of an electric fan, and apply cool, wet towels to the chest, groin, paws and stomach. Do not use ice or extremely cold water, however, as this could overcool the animal and send them into shock.
The most important thing to remember if you come across a dog in a hot car is not to leave the animal until you’re sure that they are safe. If you cannot access the dog, stay with the vehicle until the owner returns or local police respond to your call.
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