June 19, 2012 - El Dorado County Animal Services is advising pet owners to not leave dogs, cats or other pets unattended in vehicles during warm weather. According to Henry Brzezinski, Chief of Animal Services, if the outside temperature is 80 degrees or higher, temperatures inside vehicles can climb to 120 degrees or more within ten to twenty minutes, even with the windows opened two or three inches; heat stroke, irreparable brain damage and death can follow shortly thereafter.
Animal Services has recently received an increase in calls from members of the public who are concerned about dogs left in hot cars. "Yesterday alone, we received two calls in the Placerville area. Both animals were safely removed from the vehicles," said Brzezinski. "We are grateful for the concerned citizens who called us. However, our greatest hope is that we can avoid this situation by educating pet owners on the dangers of pets in hot cars."
State laws and El Dorado County Ordinance prohibit pet owners from leaving pets in an unattended vehicle without adequate ventilation or in such a manner as to subject the animal to extreme temperatures that adversely affect the animal's health and welfare. Every year, there are cases across the country of dogs dying of heat stroke because they were left in a vehicle during a hot summer day. Last year, a six-month-old puppy died in Folsom due to the effects of being left in a hot car, and the owner was charged with felony animal cruelty.
"If we receive a complaint and it is warranted, we will remove the animal for its safety and the owner can be charged with an offense. If necessary, the animal will be transported to a veterinary hospital," said Brzezinski.
Again, pet owners are advised to not leave pets in a parked car, even for a short period of time. "Parking in the shade is also not recommended because the sun can move and directly expose the vehicle," said Brzezinski. "It is best to keep pets home on hot days if there is a chance the pets could be left alone in the vehicle."
Brzezinski further stated, "It is imperative that individuals call Animal Services immediately at (530) 621-5795 on the West Slope or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe if they see an animal in distress so that our officers can respond and assess the situation."
Animal Services is a program of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency. For additional information about Animal Services visit www.edcgov.us/animalservices.
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