Letters: Help protect animals from hot cars

Posted 5/26/21

Reports of animals in distress alone in parked vehicles are on the increase.  A vehicle can turn into hell on wheels as time runs out for the innocent victim of carelessness.  Leaving your …

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Letters: Help protect animals from hot cars

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Reports of animals in distress alone in parked vehicles are on the increase.  A vehicle can turn into hell on wheels as time runs out for the innocent victim of carelessness.  Leaving your “best friend” to bake in a hot vehicle is inexcusable, unconscionable and unforgivable. 

The message is ever more pressing and fortunately has gotten more attention.  Major US chains, including CVS, Albertsons and Auto Zone have taken action to prevent hundreds of animals from dying this way.  Warnings have also been posted by some of the largest property management companies, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 

A vehicle magnifies heat.  San Francisco State University and Stanford University studies show how quickly a closed vehicle heats up on sunny days.  On a 70-degree day, a vehicle’s interior can rise to 89 degrees in 10 minutes.  On a 90-degree day, the interior can rise to 109 degrees in 10 minutes.  Cracked windows don’t help.  And, of course, there are other variables that come into play in these situations.  The best advice by Dr. Michael Dix, DVM,  is never leave your “best friend” alone in a parked vehicle if the temperature is over 70 degrees.   

Irreparable damage and even death may occur without adequate knowledge and care.  An Alexandria, Virginia veterinarian, Dr. Katy Nelson, wrote an in-depth article on the potential harm to an animal’s body from overheating.  This is required reading for anyone not yet convinced that the risk is just too great.  Go to: barkpost.com/discover/canine-heat-stress-dog-in-hot-car/  

Also, know your state laws.  According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ADLF), 31 states, including the District of Columbia, have “hot car” laws on the books.  In Pennsylvania, only law enforcement, humane officers and first responders may break into a vehicle to rescue an animal in distress.  Best to call 911.  For an overview of state laws and more, go to: aldf.org/protect/an-avoidable-tragedy-dogs-in-hot-cars/  

If more people realized the danger, they would never put their “best friend” in a position for the potential of life-threatening harm.  Get informed.          

Bridget Irons
Chestnut Hill

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