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Dogs in Hot Cars

Photo Credit: Anjali Manne

Lyssa Gascon, Journalist

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Most families have pets as lovable companions in their home, and they all come in different shapes and sizes. Dogs are one of the most common.

Dogs are known to be loyal, obedient, and are considered as part of the family. Losing any family member is a tragedy especially if it is due to heatstroke after they have been left in a parked car. This issue is especially common in Tucson due to hot weather. Leaving a dog in a parked car can cause damage to an animal.

 

Dogs might be man’s best friend, but they are not biologically similar to humans. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), dogs can’t process heat or cool themselves like we do. They only sweat through their paw pads and pant to cool themselves.

 

“A dog can actually die from being in a hot car for just a few minutes. If it’s even 85 or 90 degrees out, that car can get as hot as 110 just sitting in the sun. A dog can go into heat stroke. He can go into internal failure,” Aaron Fisher, the current Volunteer Services Manager at the Humane Society (HSSA), said.

 

Heat stroke can cause restlessness, heavy panting, dark tongue, vomiting, lack of coordination, bloody diarrhea and many more symptoms according to PETA. As the dog stays in the car longer its organs fail and eventually could die.  

 

Cracking a car window to bring some air in will not help a dog in a parked car, yet most people think the dog will be fine. People think parking in the shade or running the air conditioning will keep the dog cool. However, these are common misconceptions.

 

“Even with that cracked window, even with the car being parked in the shade, or having the air conditioning on, a dog can still overheat. Even if you leave water in the car for the dog. So there’s still so many risks and dangers from leaving animals in hot cars,” Fisher says.

 

So what happens if you see a dog locked in a parked car?

 

“Right away call 911. That’s the best thing you can do right away is to call 911. Let them know there’s a dog in a parked car, the location, and stay with and monitor that animal to look for any signs of overheating,” Fisher informs.

 

Leaving dogs in parked cars is a very important issue in Arizona, with HSSA and the Arizona government addressing this issue.

 

“The Humane Society of Southern Arizona makes every effort to educate the public about this issue because it is something we hold very near and dear to our hearts,” says Fisher.

 

“We are an animal advocacy group, we want to make sure that animals are being treated well,” he added.

 

HSSA is also a rescue organization providing care and shelter for owner surrendered animals and strays until they are adopted. HSSA has court-mandated anti-cruelty programs for both juvenile and adult offenders who have committed animal cruelty crimes. One of those crimes is leaving a dog in a parked car.

 

In Arizona, there are laws concerning this issue. One law, ARS 13-2910, states that intentionally leaving an animal in a confined motor vehicle that will likely result in harm is a criminal offense and the owner could face up to $2,500 in fines and six months in jail. It also allows “a peace officer, animal control enforcement agent or animal control enforcement deputy [to] use reasonable force to open a vehicle to rescue an animal if the animal is left in the vehicle[…]”.

 

Luke Van Vessen, a current sophomore, comments on this issue, “I would never leave a dog in a parked car.”

 

If you ever do decide to go shopping with your dog, there are some stores in Tucson that are dog-friendly. La Encantada Mall stores, located on East Skyline Drive, welcomes dogs in every shape and size. Most stores have water bowls outside their storefront and some even give out dog treats. However, it’s better to be safe and call a store or restaurant ahead of time to find out their pet policy.

 

Leaving dogs in parked cars can be deadly, devastating and is fully preventable. This issue is brought up every summer, but due to Tucson weather being warm for most of the year, it’s important to let the public learn about this issue year-long.

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The student news site of Catalina Foothills High School
Dogs in Hot Cars