How to Help a Dog Locked in a CarPublished July 18, 2011
It’s probably obvious to most of us that dogs shouldn’t be left in cars in 90 degree heat, but what about on a regular warm day, when it’s cool in the shade?
You’ll crack the windows for Fido and everything will be fine … there’s a breeze coming in, you’re not parked in direct sun. No problem, right?
WRONG! A car traps the heat of the sun like a greenhouse, even when parked in the shade, even with the windows cracked.
A recent study illustrates some scary numbers; on days where the temperature ranged between 72 and 96 degrees, a car's internal temperature (regardless of the outside temperature) could be raised by an average of 40 degrees within a half hour, regardless of the windows being cracked or not.
Cracking the windows did nothing to slow the heat-up. That’s eye opening stuff.
I’m an absolute terrorist when it comes to dogs in locked cars.
The most recent case was in a grocery store parking lot last summer. The black dog was in a truck parked in direct sun, and he looked very uncomfortable.
I watched for a few minutes just to make sure that the owner wasn’t doing an in-and-out trip to the store (still very unsafe), and then I called the non-emergency police number. The grocery store made an announcement about the dog in the car, and I watched people look around tsk-tsking, trying to identify the idiot.
In the meantime I wrote a note telling the owner of the car that the police were on the way, and that he had put his dog in a very dangerous situation. Over twenty minutes had passed by this point and I was unhinged by the dog’s obvious discomfort. It was hot out, but I wasn’t ready to commit an act of vigilante justice and break the windows, particularly because the police were on the way.
The car’s owner finally emerged over a half hour after I’d initially spotted the dog. I made my way over to him, not sure of how I could convey my anger without getting beat up or shot, but he grabbed the note off his windshield and sped off before I reached him.
The police car pulled in the other entry way as the truck exited, and even though I was able to give the license plate number and his general direction, nothing could be done. Score one for the idiot.
On hot days I skip the flyer and go right to the non-emergency police number. In my area they understand the danger of leaving a dog locked in the car, and will break in and ticket if necessary. I’ll borrow a line from the government: if you see something, say something. You might be that dog’s only advocate.