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 slightly open; 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 unattended in hot cars. State law 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 after their owners left them in a vehicle during a hot summer day. Recently, a six-month-old puppy died in Folsom due to the effects of being left in a hot car, and the owner has been 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 cited,” said Brzezinski. “We commonly find dogs left alone in cars in shopping centers or other public parking lots. In most cases, the owners thought they weren’t going to be very long and didn’t realize how quickly the temperatures could rise in a vehicle.”
Pet owners are advised to not leave pets in a parked car, even for a short period of time. “Leaving a pet inside a car 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 at home on hot days if there is a chance they could be left alone in the car.”
Brzezinski further said, “If you see an animal in distress please call Animal Services immediately at (530) 621-5795 on the West Slope or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.”
For additional information about Animal Services visit edcgov.us/animalservices.