Hot Dogs in Hot Cars

By isak, July 17, 2009


Don't leave your pet in a hot carIt doesn’t seem like it would be necessary to include a post about not leaving your pet in a hot car, but then I hear a story on the news about this very thing. So I reprint this letter written to Gary Bogue from a retired animal control officer. Who better to explain.

Hot Dogs: Don’t Leave Your Dog in a Car When It’s Hot Outside
By Gary Bogue – Contra Costa Times

Before you leave your dog locked in your car and go into a store, just for a minute, read this letter.

Dear Gary:

I read your recent column (June 30) about dogs left in cars when it’s hot outside. I’m a retired animal control officer and we called them “Hot Dogs.”

While on patrol in our assigned beat and especially during hot weather, we were always on the alert for our dispatcher getting us on the radio with a report of a hot dog. Here’s the law side of this issue:

When I arrived on scene for this type of call, I would locate the car by the car’s description. Once I found the car I had to verify several things, the first of course is that there is in fact a dog inside the car. Once confirmed I notified dispatch, took the outside temperature and if any windows were open and in these cases only about an inch, I would insert a thermometer to take the inside temperature.

If it was 80 degrees outside, the inside temperature of the car would usually read about 110 to 120 degrees. Once the temperature was confirmed, I again would notify dispatch. Then, I would make sure all efforts had been made to locate the owner either with witnesses, if any, and the store’s security team, if any, etc.

I can tell if the dog is in distress by its obvious physical condition. My next step would be to get out my bowl and water I kept inside the vehicle with me and prepare that water bowl, leaving it inside my vehicle with air conditioning
running to keep the water cooled.

Then, and here’s the part I really enjoyed, I had my dispatcher notify police I needed their assistance to extricate a hot dog. Police usually arrived within minutes and I would then go over my findings with the officer.

The officer would then use his baton to break a window farthest from the dog. I’d remove the dog and immediately offer it the bowl of water and I would time how long the dog drank. One hundred percent of the time they drank for several minutes and drained the bowl, sometimes draining the bowl two or three times depending on the size of the dog.

If no owner appeared, a notice was left on the windshield that their dog was seized and impounded. Many fees are associated when a call goes this way with a hot dog. They have to replace the car window and that’s not cheap, they have to pay significant impound fees, and if deemed necessary they are issued a citation for their negligence, which in these cases is animal cruelty.

To this day, if I see someone leave their dog in a car and it’s hot outside I approach them, identify myself as a retired animal control officer and advise them they are on the brink of animal cruelty. I then ask them what’s more important: Going shopping or taking their dog home and avoiding serious legal issues?

They always leave and I hope, go back home.

Dog owners: If it’s past 70 degrees outside, leave your pet at home. If you have to take your dog, take precautions! Park in a shaded area where the entire car is in the shade; leave all windows down at least 8 inches; leave several bowls of cold, iced water on the floor in the shade; and keep your visit inside the store to a few minutes.

If you have a small dog, put it in a pet carrier and bring it inside. If you have a large dog, leave someone outside with your dog in the shade. When we own pets, we are criminally and civilly liable for them and bad pet owners simply are not tolerated in today’s society.

Laur Krebs, cyberspace

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