Police Warn About Dangers of Leaving Dogs in Hot Cars - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Police Warn About Dangers of Leaving Dogs in Hot Cars

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The scorching summer temperatures can create dangerous conditions for leaving a dog in the car - even if you're just running a quick errand.

Animal control officers with Albemarle County police say depending on the pup, it could take just 15 minutes before a dog's body starts shutting down from the heat.

The department says they've likely responded to more calls this summer than last year and want people to stay aware of the safety issue. Officers will take different steps to assess the situation and remove the dog - if necessary.

Animal control officer Larry Crickenberger said, “We recently took a pit bull out of a vehicle that had been there for half an hour plus and laid down on the floorboard where it was cooler, and it was panting heavy.  We actually removed the dog and took him to the SPCA.”

When Crickenberger responds to the report of a dog locked in a car, he first checks to see if the animal is in distress.  He then uses an infrared thermometer to check the temperature of different spots in the car. Crickenberger says that the windshield of a car acts as a magnifying glass in the sun, causing the inside to heat up fast.  He has shot temperatures on the seat of a car anywhere from 125 to 150 degrees in a short period of time.

“A dog's natural temperature starts roughly at 101 degrees.  At 107 degrees, a dog can actually die.  We recently removed a dog that had been in a vehicle with the windows down.  It had sun roof open, it was parked in the shade and it's body core temperature had already reached 104.5,” he said.

Crickenberger says if a dog is overheated, it will likely try to lay on the floorboard because that's the coolest spot in a car.

The department says if someone calls in a complaint, it is best for them to stay with the vehicle until an officer arrives.

If a dog is found in serious distress, the owner could face animal welfare or even animal cruelty charges.

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