Animal Control Sees Increase in People Leaving Dogs in Hot Cars

- FREDERICK, Md. - Those with animal control in Frederick County said they've seen an increase of people leaving their dogs in hot cars this year.

You've probably heard not to leave your child in a hot car, but those with Frederick County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center said they've seen around a 20 percent increase in people leaving their four-legged friends in hot cars. They said while this may not be intentional, it can quickly become deadly.

"We have experienced between fiscal year 2013 and 2014 a significant increase. We saw 235 calls for service in 2013, and we've witnessed 280 calls for service in 2014," said Harold Domer, director of Frederick County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center.

Animal control officials say the temperature inside a car on a 90-degree day can increase 10 to 15 degrees in just 10 minutes.

"Their [dogs] body temperature is usually 100 to 101," Domer said. "When a dog's body temperature reaches 106 and higher, it starts to be life threatening, and at 108 to 109, it can be fatal."

"People don't intend to inflict harm upon their animals, but when they run to the store, they think they're going to be in there for five minutes, something happens, and it turns out to be 15 minutes to 20 minutes. That's a situation that can rapidly deteriorate," said Sgt. Dave Luckenbaugh, with Frederick County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center.

Those at animal control say your dogs shouldn't go along for a ride with you unless someone can be in their car with them with the air conditioning on. Besides making sure the air conditioning is on, animal control officials say you should act quickly if you see an animal inside a hot car in distress.

"Anytime you feel an animal is in danger, and you see a dog left unattended, it's very important you act quickly because time is important," Luckenbaugh said. "The best thing to do is call 911, call your local police agency, or call your local animal control agency."

"We're talking about minutes," Domer said. "We're not talking about hours."

Those at animal control say it's a violation of state law to leave an animal in a hot car if it threatens their health or well being.

Animal control officers say fortunately, no dogs died in hot cars this year because they quickly received calls from good Samaritans.

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