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Heat brings reminders about leaving pets in hot cars

Posted at 10:00 AM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 18:20:55-04

TULSA, Okla. — Temperatures into the 90s with feels-like temperatures into the 100s can leave people in difficult situations as they walk by cars in parking lots with pets sitting inside.

One woman who was passing by in a restaurant parking lot, panicked when she saw a dog inside a hot car.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Beverly told us. She didn’t want us to use her full name, but said, “I have two precious pets at home, and seeing a puppy locked up in a hot car makes me so mad, and sick to my stomach.”

A window shade covered the windshield, and the windows were cracked an inch or two, but while the temperatures that day were in the low-to-mid 80s, Rachel Ward, with the Humane Society of Tulsa says it can get much hotter inside a vehicle. The temperature can increase by 20-to-30 degrees in as little as 10 minutes.

“The biggest risk is once an animal is affected by heat-related illness, stroke, heat exhaustion, have minutes to act," she says.

Beverly says she went into the restaurant and talked to the manager, then returned to the car. After a few minutes passed, and no one came out to rescue the dog, Beverly went in again.

Soon, a family member came to the car and got in with their pet.

“It’s so dangerous to leave animals in the car for the same reason you wouldn’t leave your child in the car," Beverly says.

If necessary, the Humane Society says you can call the non-emergency police number in your area, or call animal control. In situations with an immediate need, people can call 911. If you own a pet, use common sense — put yourself in your pet’s place.

“If you wouldn’t want to be sitting in the backseat without AC, your dog doesn’t either.”

When it comes to a pet in distress, any delay can be deadly, even if you think an errand will take just a few minutes. Young, overweight, or elderly animals with short muzzles or thick or dark-colored coats are most at risk for overheating.

Parking in a shady spot offers little protection on hot days, and the shade moves with the sun. Some local governments have laws dealing with leaving animals unattended, and your car could be damaged if your pet needs to be rescued.

In Oklahoma, including the city and county of Tulsa, there are no specific laws regarding leaving a pet unattended, but it could fall under animal cruelty laws.

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