Keep pets out of the heat
By Kendall Patterson
At the beginning of September, the temperatures are still extremely high. Similarly how one should not leave children in hot vehicles, the same is said for animals in cars and even just outside when it’s very hot.
According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), 25 animals have died this year already from heat-related causes in the United States.
The organization is even more concerned this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 is prolonging store wait times and errands. PETA is concerned that?this summer could see an unprecedented number of hot weather–related animal deaths,” said PETA media officer Sophia Charchuk.
Local Jennifer Jackson McBride of Funny Farm Rescue Ranch explained how the situation of a dog left in a car can escalate quickly.
“Many of us love our pets, and they love to ride with us when we run errands; however, a quick drive to the store can turn deadly for your pet if proper care is not taken,” she said. “The temperature inside your vehicle can climb 19 degrees every 10 minutes when parked in the sun. A study by Red Rover showed that cracking the windows did not make much difference in the temperature. But vets agree that because dogs lower their temperature by panting, they are simply recirculating the hot air causing their internal temperature to continue to rise leading to a possible heat stroke or worse, death.”
McBride gave a personal story of a dog she knew of that died from being in a hot car.
“A friend adopted a dog from us who had been near death. We nursed him back to health before adopting him out. The entire family loved the dog dearly. I can only assume that due to his past history, he had separation anxiety so he rode everywhere with our friend. He even went to work with this man, and the vehicle would stay running all day, and he would check on him periodically. Then one day, while the car was parked in a garage, he went out to check on him, and all they can figure is that the air condition system had failed. His beloved pet was gone,” she said.
Charchuk gave Tennessee reports of where animals died from being left in the extreme heat. It is important to understand that these are only the ones that were reported.
June 29, 2020 – Nashville: A dog was spotted inside a locked vehicle around noon. An officer broke into the car to attempt a rescue, but the animal did not survive. The owner was charged with felony cruelty to animals.
Aug. 13, 2019 – Morristown: Police responded to a report of a dog left in a hot car parked outside a Hobby Lobby store. When officers arrived and found the animal, they also discovered drugs and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. The owners now face several drug-related charges, but no cruelty-to-animals charges were mentioned in reports. The dog was returned to his or her home.
July 19, 2019 – Murfreesboro: Police were called and ended up breaking into a hot car in a Walmart parking lot to save a dog who was inside. The owners were cited.
Sept. 15, 2018 – Murfreesboro: A dog died after being tied up outside in the heat with no food or water.
June 21, 2018 – Chattanooga: A family from Florida claimed that they had left their dog in a car for “only” 20 minutes. The animal died of heatstroke.
“Tennessee is not immune to this crisis,” Charchuk said.
Because of the common problem, PETA issues warnings yearly about the importance of keeping animals safe during hot weather. Another important fact one should remember is that since 2019, animal abuse/ cruelty is a federal crime, so anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted for cruelty.
The following tips will help keep animal companions safe in hot weather:
Keep animals indoors, and leave them at home when it is hot outside. Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, so even brief sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help should note their locations and alert authorities immediately.
Never leave an animal inside a hot vehicle. Temperatures can quickly soar in parked cars, and a dog trapped inside can die from heatstroke within minutes—even if the car is in the shade with the windows slightly open, which has little to no effect on lowering the temperature inside the car. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Dogs, which do not sweat and can cool themselves only by panting, can rapidly succumb to heatstroke. PETA offers an emergency window breaking hammer for help with intervening in life-or-death situations.
Avoid hot pavement. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can climb to 140 degrees, causing pain, burns and permanent damage to dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk dogs on grass whenever possible and avoid walking in the middle of the day. Never run with dogs in hot weather—they will collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them.