Animal Answers: As Temperatures Rise, Police Warn of Hot Vehicle Dangers

Duluth Police Department Advises Calling 911 if an Animal is Showing Signs of Heat Exhaustion Inside a Vehicle

DULUTH, Minn. – Every year, PETA estimates nearly 100 animals will die due to negligence and heat exhaustion from being locked inside a hot vehicle.

Officials say at just 70 degrees, a vehicle’s inside temperature can quickly reach well over 120 degrees.

“It is deadly to leave your pet in a car in the summer time. It can happen faster than you know and you’re not really in control of that trip to the grocery store as much as you think,” said KC Theisen with the Humane Society of the United States.

As the dog days of summer settle in, the Duluth Police Department is reminding pet owners and concerned residents to be on the lookout for dangerous, possibly deadly conditions.

“If at all possible, leave your animals at home,” said Ingrid Hornibrook, Public Information Officer with the DPD. “It is something that we deal with every summer.”

In the past, Duluth Animal Control has received up to a dozen distress calls in one day when temps spike above 80 degrees.

“If an animal is left in a hot car and it appears to be in distress, we do want people to call 911,” said Hornibrook.

Statistics show dogs can die within five to ten minutes in a hot vehicle if windows are sealed up.

“To tell if a dog is in distress or any animal would be a few warning signs to look out for,” said Hornibrook.

Hornibrook advises animal advocates to be on the lookout for the following warning signs:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Panting
  • Pawing at the window
  • Loss of bowels
  • Dark colored tongue
  • Lethargic or unresponsiveness

“If you knock on the window and the animal doesn’t react, that’s definitely a warning sign,” said Hornibrook.

“If you can’t put your hand down on the pavement or the surface your pet’s going to be on, they can’t hold their feet there comfortably,” said Theisen.

Duluth Police recommend leaving your animal at home if pets aren’t allowed at your final destination.

“On a 70 degree day, it can quickly get up to about 120 degrees inside of a car over a long period of time,” said Hornibrook.

She says it’s best to reach out to family, friends, or even a neighbor across the street instead of putting your pup in a potentially fatal situation.

“It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors by being there for each other and watching each other’s pets,” said Hornibrook.

After dialing 911 to report a pet being locked inside a hot vehicle, a DPD officer, park ranger, or Animal Control specialist will arrive on scene to assist with the situation.

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