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Porky & Buddy’s Pet Health: Dogs in the Car in the Summer Heat

Dear Porky and Buddy,

Yesterday, I was driving around with my dog, Lulu, with me in the car and I remembered that I needed to stop at the drug store to pick up some medicine for my mother, so I pulled into the parking lot of the drug store, parked in a shady area, left the window open a crack and quickly ran in to pick up the prescription. It didn’t take me more than 10 minutes.

When I got back outside there was a cop standing by a car and a crowd of busybodies who had apparently called him and he threatened to write me up for some legal violation but instead he just gave me a warning and then the busybodies all proceeded to harass me about leaving Lulu in the car. But really it was only 10 minutes. Do you think what I did was so wrong that the police needed to be involved? And why can’t people mind their own business? My mother really needed that medicine.

Josie

Dear Josie,

We are impressed that you are trying to justify putting Lulu in serious danger by playing the mom card, but seriously, would your mother be proud of you if you had come back to find Lulu half dead from heat stroke? IT WAS 90 DEGREES OUTSIDE YESTERDAY . . . IN THE SHADE! What were you thinking?

In that kind of heat, numerous studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked car, even in the shade, even with the windows cracked, can easily rise 20 degrees or more in just ten minutes. So now we are talking 110 degrees inside your car. Would you sit inside the car at that temperature? Actually, cars in the sun heat up very quickly even in more moderate heat and can get to over 100 degrees from an outside temperature in the 70’s in less than an hour. And of course Lulu doesn’t know how to open the door, so you are basically leaving her by herself in an oven. If you are feeling guilty about that, well good.

And yes, confining a companion animal in a car in extreme heat without proper ventilation can be a criminal violation under § 353-d of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law when it places the animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury. Cracking a window does not constitute proper ventilation. You are lucky the police officer did not break into your car to save Lulu, because the statute authorizes law enforcement to take necessary steps to remove the animal from the vehicle and it subjects you to a fine.

And yes the busybodies were right to get involved and call the police. Animals, mostly dogs, die in cars every summer, and, quite frankly, we are tired of it. We need more busybodies on this issue.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.