With Fiddle and Griddle, Beetle land and other events occurring this weekend, people may be tempted to bring Fido along for the ride. Don’t do it, unless the dog can be let out of the vehicle. Animal Services Supervisor Joseph Pacheco says that Roswell has ordinances which prohibit leaving an animal in a car unless both water and proper ventilation are provided. Even then, he does not recommend it.
This year Roswell has been blessed with a Roswell-style mild spring with weather running in the 80s; however, now the temperatures have risen into the 90s and scraped along the bottom of the 100s. People need to remember dogs can die from heat stroke on a mild day.
Recently, a dog died after being locked in a parked car on a sunny, 67-degree day in Albany, New York, despite the fact that the owner claimed one window was cracked.
When outside temperatures are 73 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in 30 minutes. On a 90 degree day, the interior of a vehicle will reach 160 degrees in minutes. Besides other obvious hazards, a dog can burn the pads of its feet on hot metal if left in the bed of a pickup truck. A dog’s normal body temperature is around 102 degrees. It can die of heat stroke if its body temperature goes up to 106 degrees.
In Roswell, the owner can receive a citation and a fine if an animal is found locked inside a hot car. If an animal dies as a result, the owner faces cruelty charges, here and elsewhere. One anticruelty society, the FIXiT Foundation reported a man from Naples, Fla., who was convicted of cruelty when his dog died after being locked in a car for four hours on a warm day. The dead dog’s temperature was still almost 110 degrees a full two hours after police removed him from the car. The man was sentenced to six months in jail and was slapped with a $1,000 fine for animal cruelty by abandonment.
WITB television in North Carolina reported that three people were arrested late in May near Myrtle Beach for leaving their dogs locked inside vehicles. The windows were cracked about 2 inches and the temperature inside the car was 102 degrees. The dogs were left inside the car for more than an hour. In Lexington, S.C., police found a dog locked inside a vehicle at a local restaurant.
The window was rolled down about an inch and the inside temperature was 102 degrees. All three were charged with animal cruelty.
In Buckley, Wash., a man was charged with first-degree animal cruelty after his dog died locked inside his truck. The Golden retriever’s body temperature had risen to more than 108 degrees and was still hot to the touch when examined hours later after his death.
Pacheco also wanted to remind people of other City ordinances about a healthy summer environment for pets at home. “You have to provide adequate shelter and a water bowl that the dog can reach. Check it and refill it every day.”
This is even more important if the animal is chained outside. It has to be able to reach the shelter and the water. The water dish also needs to be set up in such a way that it won’t spill if a chain is dragged over it. Roswell’s ordinance says adequate shelter includes both shade and ventilation. Pacheco said he has set up a sprinkler/ spray type system in his yard to help keep his animals cool.
Experts offer other advice, such as don’t exercise dogs during the hottest part of the day. Walks or letting them out for a run should take place in the morning or evening. Most agree that it is best if people bring their animals inside rather than leaving them out all day long during the dog-days of summer.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) asked people to get involved. “If you see a dog in a car and in distress, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license-plate number, have the owner paged inside nearby stores, and call local humane authorities or police.”
In Roswell the number to call is 624-6722.