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Don't leave pets in hot cars

POSTED: June 24, 2014 11:00 p.m.
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Many dogs love riding in cars, but it can become deadly for fido when left in a closed up vehicle.

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It's hot outside.
But it's even hotter inside parked vehicles, and a local animal control officer is urging pet owners to refrain from leaving animals alone inside cars.
Beth Murray of Bryan County Animal Control says she gets calls every summer about dogs left in cars in extreme heat and that people need to be aware of the harm it can cause.
Dr. Amanda Welch of Richmond Hill Animal Hospital says it is a dangerous situation because the interior cars reach much higher temperatures than the outside in a short amount of time, and the stifling heat makes it difficult for dogs to cool off.
Dogs cool down by panting. When they pant they evaporate moisture from their tongues, and they lose heat, and this is done more easily when it is cooler outside and they can get colder air and breezes on their tongues.
So, when the interior of a car is extremely hot, especially when it’s hotter than the dogs’ body temperature, it is much harder for the dogs to cool down.
With no adequate way of cooling down, dogs suffers from heat strokes when their body temperature rise from the average 101-102.5-degrees to 107-110-degrees, this causes severe brain damage, according to Welch.
According to Welch, warning signs for heatstroke includes excessive panting, a dazed state in the dog, including glazed eyes, and uncoordinated movements.
If you see a dog excessively panting it is either overheated or stressed, which can cause it to overheat more quickly, according to Welch.
Murray said if you see a dog trapped in a car, try to locate the owner, and if you are unsuccessful, then call the police.
The police can get to the scene faster and open the door if necessary, she said.
Major Albritton of Richmond Hill Police Department said most people call the police in this situation, but they do not go into the car unless it is an emergency situation where the dog appears to be in immediate distress.
He said that the calls are random, sometimes they get two or three calls a week while other times they get two or three calls a month.  
There is no ordinance against leaving a dog in a parked car in Bryan County. However, it could be considered animal cruelty, according to Albritton, if something happened to the dog or it’s hot and the car windows are rolled up, the air conditioner isn’t running and the dog has been in the car for an extended period of time.

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