Hot cars can leave pet owners in hot trouble!
With the weather warming up, it's important to remember the safety of our four-legged friends when going for a ride. Bay Village police will respond to calls to mitigate for the safety of animals locked in cars or those left in hot cars, even those with cracked windows on warm days. They request that they be contacted immediately if you see an animal in distress. Give a description and location of the vehicle. Stay if you can and they typically handle it as a lockout.
If you are the pet owner you can likely expect a strong warning and/or charges. With the animal laws and fines changing you might even face animal cruelty charges. Ohio animal cruelty laws are changing and we will always have Goddard’s Law, amendments and new laws to be grateful for this.
In 2018 Governor Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 218. Under this law anyone who breaks into a car to save an animal in distress is immune from civil liability. The rescuer has to have a good faith, reasonable belief that the dog or other animal is actually in distress – and that there’s no way to help them other than breaking into the car and getting them out.
They must also call 9-1-1, or make other attempts to reach law enforcement before breaking any windows. Otherwise they might be facing criminal activity charges.
Additionally, rescuers must stay with the animal until law enforcement or emergency responders arrive. A report will be made by law enforcement.
According to the American Kennel Club: “Most dog owners know that you can’t leave a pet in a hot car. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels in just minutes, putting your dog at risk of heat stroke. But what if you open a window a little bit? Does that make it safe to leave your dog in the car? The answer is simple: You should NEVER leave a dog alone in the car, even with the windows cracked. In some states, it’s even illegal. It doesn’t have to be super hot outside for your car to heat up. The inside of a vehicle parked in 70-degree weather can reach 100 degrees in just 20 minutes. On very hot days, temperatures inside parked cars can climb to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in less than one hour. Even with the windows cracked.”
According to an article published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), studies have shown that cracking a window changes these figures very little. A parked car with the windows cracked heats up at almost the exact same rate as a car with the windows rolled up, putting pets in serious danger.
All dogs are susceptible to heat stroke. Heat intolerant brachycephalic breeds (dogs that have a relatively broad, short skull), such as pugs and bulldogs, however, could suffer negative effects sooner than other breeds. If you know you’ll be on the road with your dog, make plans to travel with another adult who can remain in the vehicle with the pets while the air conditioner is running. This will keep pets safe, and it will also reduce the risk of your dog jumping out of an open window at a rest stop or in a parking lot.
Hundreds of pets die from car-related heat stroke each year. The issue is so important that 28 states, including Ohio, have laws restricting people from leaving their pets unattended in vehicles. Some laws ban the practice outright, while others protect law enforcement officers and citizens if they break into cars to rescue pets.
Teaching your dog to exit the car properly is also critical to his safety. After you exit the car, you can walk around to the door closest to your dog and give him a clear command when it is time for him to come out. Teaching the “wait” command can give you more control.
The Friends of the Bay Village Kennel will be displaying yard signs at the shopping centers and park entrances to remind families to keep Fido safe!
Visit The Friends of the Bay Village Kennel's new Facebook page, facebook.com/FOBVK. Featured are safety tips and pets for adoption. Please watch for future fundraisers and how you can support the Kennel's fund for injured and lost pets.
Owner, Hot Diggity Dog, Inc.
Blog writer for Ohio Pet Expert
Advocate for lost, stolen and injured pets