“If you’re hot, they’re hot.”
It’s the slogan we hear over and over again regarding pets in the summer temps. But is the public listening, and what are officers doing to keep animals safe, especially when left in vehicles?
Officer Misty Binau with Animal Control responds to several calls each week about dogs trapped in cars that are baking in the summer sun.
“If it’s 75 degrees outside, it can get up to 100 degrees on the inside in just a matter of minutes, so we consider those emergencies and we go to those right away,” said Officer Binau.
As we rode with Officer Binau for just a few hours, we responded to two calls about dogs left in hot cars.
“Gonna put a thermometer in there just to make sure that it’s nice and cool and that the AC is on...It’s about 77 degrees, which is okay, and the dogs are nice and comfortable,” explained Binau as she put a thermometer cord through the crack in the window.
She waited for the owner to return to her vehicle. Because the AC was running, the dogs were not in immediate danger. This dog owner was not in violation, and was free to go, but Binau said that even the measures she took may not always be enough.
“It’s good intentions; however, auto starts can go off after 10 minutes or 20 minutes. Also, the car could run out of gas or have a mechanical failures, and in just a few minutes, your dog could be reaching dangerous temperatures,” said Officer Binau.
Just a few minutes later, another call came in for a more distressing situation.
Officer Binau approached a car matching the description, giving a sharp whistle. She was greeted by two dogs in a car with the engine turned off, the windows barely cracked.
“Hi, this is your vehicle?” she asked the owner as she approched.
“Yeah,” replied the owner, a young woman.
“Hi, I’m Officer Binau with the Humane Society. Come here real quick. Let me show you.”
Officer Binau led the young woman to the temperature gauge she had placed on the vehicle, showing the internal temperature to be 99 degrees. At one point it climbed to 100.
“This is how hot it is inside your car right now. You left your dogs in there on accident?” she asked the owner.
“It’s going very hot, it’s in the upper 90’s or low 100’s, so dogs can’t be in the vehicle, they could die. Okay? So, I do have to issue a citation for leaving your dogs in the vehicle.”
Officer Binau says to never leave pets in the car, even with the engine running, and caution is needed when bringing pets outdoors at all.
“Make sure they stay off the hot concrete. Give them plenty of water, plenty of shade, and try not to keep them outside for too long,” she said.
Officer Binau said that since more news reports have come out about hot car dangers, calls have gone down for animals left in vehicles.
Tips on keeping your pet safe in the heat include:
1. Bring plenty of water for you and your pet.
2. Keep dogs’ and cats’ sensitive paws off the hot concrete.
3. Stay in the shade when possible.
4. Bring special ice toys that pets can play with and keep cool.
5. Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle.
You can find more tips on keeping your pet safe in the heat by visiting the Nebraska Humane Society’s website here.