SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It’s a scenario seen in headlines far too often.
Pets dying due to extreme heat.
This exact scenario happened locally in Salt Lake City after a German Shepard mix died Tuesday after being left in a hot car for hours.
The dog was then pulled out of the unlocked car door, where the animal control officer tried to cool off the dog and administer first-aid care.
The dog owner was cited for animal cruelty.
Salt Lake County Animal Services responds to approximately 500 calls a year for dogs left in hot cars.
They say on a 70-degree day, the temperature in the car can soar to 116 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, causing a dog to suffer and die a painful death
The Animal safety experts at the American Red Cross say there are a number of steps Utahns can take to prevent these things from happening to their furry family members:
- Never leave your pet in a hot vehicle, even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees even with the windows cracked open.
- Limit exercise on hot days. Exercise in the early morning or evening hours.
- Walk your pet in the grass if possible, to avoid hot surfaces burning their paws.
- If your pet is outside, make sure they have access to shade and plenty of cool water.
- Water safety is important for your furry friends. Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—they aren’t all good swimmers
- Watch your pets at a backyard barbecue. Keep them away from the grill and know that some food can be poisonous to them. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with artificial sweeteners.
Dogs can’t release heat from sweating as humans do, which means their internal body temperature rises quickly. This can cause them to get a heat stroke and possibly die. Senior dogs, puppies, and those with flatter faces suffer even more in hot weather.
These are signs that a pet may be experiencing heat stroke:
- Exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting)
- Rapid or erratic pulse
- Salivation, anxiety, or staring expression
- Weakness and muscle tremors or lack of coordination
- Convulsions or vomiting, and collapse
But what can you do if you see a pet left unattended in a hot vehicle?
Well under Utah’s Good Samaritan law, nothing.
In Utah, the law protects those who break into a vehicle on a hot day to save a child. But those who break into a car to save an animal may face penalties.
Some states have Good Samaritan laws which allow individuals to legally break into another’s vehicle to save an animal in distress. However, Utah does not have any such law, according to the Utah Humane Society.