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It Takes Only Minutes: Please Don’t Leave Pets in Hot Cars!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 9:45am

Each year, thousands of beloved companions succumb to heatstroke and suffocation when left in parked cars. It happens most often when people make quick stops—the dry cleaners, the bank or the local deli. Folks, we need to be clear on this: It takes only minutes for your pet to face death—and it doesn’t have to be that hot out. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 160 degrees. Even with the windows cracked. 

You can help save pets from dying in hot cars. Simply take the following actions: 

  • Educate people. Hang this printable flyer [PDF] up in your local grocery store, veterinary hospital, animal shelter and other local businesses.

  • If you see something, say something. If you see a dog alone in a vehicle, immediately call animal control or 911. Local law officials have the ability to enter vehicle and rescue the pet. Do not leave until help has arrived.

  • Try to find the car’s owner. If you are out and you see a dog locked in a car, tell the nearby store manager immediately. Don't be shy.

  •  And please, no matter how much your dog loves to go along when you run errands, don't take a chance. Leave her home where she is safe. 

For more information, visit our Summer Safety Tips!

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Beth

I did just that yesterday. Hunted down the owner who left their Great Dane in a Mustang (!) with a window open. Did I mention it was 97 degrees out?! I gave him quite the lecture, then called the cops. He told me to "shut up", but I don't care. It was exactly the same situation described, "I was just paying my cell phone bill, it will be two minutes" He had already taken that much time just to argue with me!

lori

break the window and call the police, then give the dog some water to drink very slow

Elizabeth

I tried unsuccessfully to locate the owner/driver of the car. Then parked behind the car and called the police. Before the police arrived, the owner/driver approached the car and I (tried to) kindly told him how dangerous it was to leave an animal in a car even in moderately hot temps. He became enraged and told me to move my car or he would. As the interaction escalated, a lady bystander pleaded with me to move my car -- that it was not worth getting assaulted over--she was in tears. But I (even if I am a 5'2 female) can defend myself against this jerk or have him arrested if he touched me. Fortunately (well so I thought) the police arrived and ... well told me to move my car. Okay, I didn't get the remedy I wanted (expected), but maybe next time this pet parent (I use the term very loosely) will consider our encounter and take better care of his dog.

Tatiana Chavez

What you did is great. No property damage, but this is definitely will teach a lesson. We can't just silently observe this irresponsible and cruel act. We have a right to express the opinion.

Jennifer

I came across this very situation, went into the supermarket to ask the manager to make an announcement saying, 'anyone owning a green civic please come to customer service.' HOWEVER initially the person at customer service said to me, 'I don't want to upset the customer!' so I just said no problem I'll call 911. Fortunately the car was gone when I returned.

cindy

I would break their window and call the cops!!

Peggy Yost

If we followed the directions given by the ASPCA, a pet or child could die. The first thing to do is not call 911, or look for the owner or anything time-consuming thing like that, it's obviously to break the window and get the victim out of the car, hydrate him or her, and then call for emergency help 911. It's better to ask forgiveness than permission. Life and death folks.

SHIRLEY MEZORI

I carry something typed up that I leave on their windshield. A few weeks ago my husband and I spotted a dog in a car with windows slightly down, we went to eat at a nearby fast food place and I asked my husband to return to that car and dog was still in car half an hour later, so I went into Kohls, Louisville, Kentucky and asked Customer Service to page the person who owned the car, gave registration, etc. to please return to their car. Customer Service would not make an announcement but she called the manager and he promised he would.
Many years ago I took a small dog from an unlocked car and stood with it in the shade until the owner returned. I will not tolerate this kind of thing with pet owners that do such a thoughtless act.

jennifer

I did call 911 - they wanted to arrest ME for mis-using the service. Another time, I went in to the business and asked them to page the person who left the dog in the car and call the police - they refused any action and told me to leave the property. Ohio, The Heart of it All.

jennifer

I would break in to the car and let someone call the police, since they would obviously rather respond to a B&E w property damage instead of rescuing a living being in distress.

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