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Going shopping? Leave your dog at home

The heat is back, and its impact is being heard by those of us who listen to local police, fire and rescue chatter on scanners. The chatter has included some heat-related people illnesses as well as police being dispatched to investigate dogs being left alone to bake in hot cars parked in store lots.

The summer's first 90-plus degree days have already claimed the lives of man's best friend in other areas of our country and Canada in the past week:

  • Website wwlp.com reports that two dogs died in South Deerfield, Mass., on Wednesday after their owner left them in the back of a pickup. The truck was covered, the dogs had water and the windows were open.
  • In Toronto on Sunday, therecord.com reports that a 1-year-old Labrador died in a car of heat exposure outside a mall while its owners shopped. A window was left cracked open.
  • Website nwcn.com in Portland, Ore., reports that a dog left in a car this week died of heat stroke.
The temperature inside a car on a hot day with the windows rolled up - or even cracked - can kill dogs as well as humans. A dark dashboard or seat can reach temperatures of 180 degrees to more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and these objects then warm the air inside the vehicle, according to the National Weather Service.

On a day when the outside temperature is 80 degrees, the inside temperature of a car can climb to 99 degrees in just 10 minutes, according to a vehicle heat study conducted by the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco University. The study found that in 20 minutes the temperature rises to 109 degrees, and in 30 minutes it is 114 degrees. After an hour, the inside temperature is 123 degrees. Cracking the windows, the study found, had little effect on lowering the temperature.

Dogs can't cope with the heat. They pant to cool themselves, and if the air around them is hot, then panting is ineffective. According to the American Kennel Club, www.akc.org, the faster and more shallow a dog pants, the more heat he is trying to release from his body. Most dogs, the AKC says, start to get overheated when the air temperature is between 81 and 85 degrees.

Save a life this summer. Leave your dog at home instead of in a hot car the next time you spend time in an air conditioned store.

1 Comment

These thoughtless cruel owners need to be criminally charged for leaving any animal in a car or truck during the summer.

WE ALL must get involved and stop this crime. When you see an animal in this situation - don't just ignore it or believe someone else will "do something". Call 911 immediately!

Stores should post warnings and police need to be on the look out. Laws need to change allowing concerned citizens the legal right to act on behalf of animals at risk.

Great Editorial.

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