El Dorado County Animal Services advises pet owners to not leave dogs, cats or other pets unattended in vehicles during warm weather.
If the outside temperature is 80 degrees or higher, temperatures inside vehicles can climb to 120 degrees or more within 10 to 20 minutes, even with the windows opened 2 or 3 inches; heat stroke, irreparable brain damage and death can follow shortly thereafter, according to Chief of Animal Services Henry Brzezinski.
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.
“Parking in the shade is also not recommended because the sun can move and directly expose the vehicle,” he added. “It is best to keep pets home on hot days if there is a chance the pets could be left alone in the vehicle.”
Individuals who see an animal in distress should call Animal Services immediately at (530) 621-5795 on the West Slope or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.