El Dorado County Animal Services is advising pet owners to not leave dogs, cats or other pets unattended in vehicles during hot weather. "Each year, pets die in hot cars," said Henry Brzezinski, Chief of Animal Services. "California law allows Animal Services officers to take swift action to help an animal that may be in danger, including those left inside vehicles on a hot day." According to Brzezinski, the animal will be removed and pet owners will be cited. The owner could face fines up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail, including possible felony charges if the pet is severely harmed or dies.
"Last week alone, thirteen calls came into Animal Services about pets in hot vehicles in El Dorado County," said Brzezinski. "We are grateful for the citizens who called us. Anyone who sees an animal in distress in a hot car should write down the vehicle license plate number and State of the plate, the make, model and color of the vehicle, and the type of animal, and call us immediately. Our officers will respond and attempt to locate the owner. If the animal is in immediate danger, our officers will remove the animal for its safety. If necessary, the animal will be transported to a veterinary hospital."
According to Brzezinski, temperatures inside a vehicle can climb quickly. "When it's 80 degrees or higher outside, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach 120 degrees or more in ten to twenty minutes, even with the windows opened slightly," said Brzezinski, "Heat stress or stroke, irreparable brain damage and death can follow shortly thereafter." Parking in the shade is also not recommended because the sun can move and directly expose a vehicle. Brzezinski advises owners to keep pets home on days when temperatures are expected to be 80 degrees or higher.
To report a pet in distress, contact Animal Services at (530) 621-5795 on the West Slope or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe. Animal Services is a program of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency. For more information about Animal Services visit www.edcgov.us/animalservices.
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