SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Temperatures are reaching into the ’90s this week and that means it’s not only hot for humans but dogs too.
Puppies and older dogs are the most at risk when it comes to heat exhaustion, especially if they are left inside a hot vehicle.
According to Springfield-Greene County Animal Control, there have been 15 reports of dogs left in hot cars from June 1 to June 10.
The pandemic is making it hard for people to leave their dogs at home while running errands.
After you leave your car for ten minutes, the temperature inside could spike 20 degrees.
Springfield has an ordinance for animal cruelty and it states the owner should not confine an animal without enough food or water. People who leave their dogs in a hot car typically won’t be arrested, but it is on a case-by-case basis.
If someone leaves their dog in a hot car they could be fined up to $1000 or go to jail for up to six months.
“Dogs like Buckingham, she’s white and she has very pale skin and she can sunburn,” said Michelle Rehkop, a Rescue One Emergency Rescue Team Member. “She gets overheated very easily.”
If you see a dog inside a hot car, the first thing you should do is call 9-1-1. Then police and animal control will assess the situation.
You can put a cold rag on the dog’s neck, armpit, or groin area to help cool them down.
“Give them shade, bring them inside, that helps them tremendously. Provide them a cool place with plenty of water and plenty of food. And just keep an eye on them.”
“The dogs depend on us. You know without us, you know they don’t have a life. So it’s up to us. We need to protect all of them.”
Rehkop says if you see a stray dog, don’t try to catch it, instead, you should leave out a water bowl and contact the police.
It is also important to make sure the pavement isn’t too hot when you are walking your dog. You can place your hand lightly on the pavement to check and if it feels too hot walk your dog in the grass.