CHENANGO COUNTY – As summer progresses, it’s important to know the dangers of leaving a pet or child unattended in a hot vehicle, especially as there have been instances of concerned citizens coming across such situations. It was also almost a year ago that a dog died after being left unattended in a car for four hours at the New York State Fair Grounds.
“People need to understand that even if it doesn't seem like it's hot to you, with the sun it gets hot,” said Lisa Teller, Director of Operations at the Chenango SPCA. “With the windows cracked open they think it's fine, but it's not.”
She and Courtney Sullivan, owner of Doggie Dude Ranch in Norwich, will sometimes receive calls from concerned individuals who come across pets in closed up vehicles.
Teller and Sullivan both agreed that pets should not be left inside a vehicle, unless it is for a very quick trip into a store, etc. In that case, the air conditioning should be left on, the said. Sullivan explained that most often people are well-intentioned and bring their dog with them to ride along, but this is not the best idea.
“Leave your dog at home if you're going to leave it in your car,” Sullivan said.
Added Teller, “Even five minutes is a long time on a hot day.”
The National Weather Service warns against ever leaving children, disabled adults or pets in cars.
“Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day,” states the NWS website.
A demonstration showed how a car can raise from a safe temperature to an unsafe temperature of 94.3 degrees Fahrenheit in just over two minutes. This escalation in temperature can make a vehicle a death trap for a child or pet left inside.
Sullivan and Teller advised that if a person comes across a pet in a car and it seems distressed, then they should first attempt to locate the owner. If there’s still concern, call local authorities.
Sheriff Ernest Cutting, Jr. of the Chenango County Sheriff's Office also suggested trying to locate the owner of the vehicle. If the location is a store parking lot, it may be possible to make an announcement over the store's intercom system to bring the owner out.