By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
The warm days of summer are here, with temperatures reaching into the 80s and 90s.
Pet owners should be aware that leaving a dog in their vehicle under these circumstances, even for a short time, can result in suffocation or heat stroke.
“It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don’t realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees — and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun,” the Paw Rescue website indicates.
Pierz Police Chief Eric Hanneken said he and his family frequently take their family pets with them on outings.
“No matter how prepared, it seems we always have to run a quick errand or two on the way to wherever we are going. We solve this problem (leaving a dog in the car) by parking in the shade, leashing or kenneling the dogs and having family members stay with the car and the dogs, with the doors and windows open,” said Hanneken.
He suggests utilizing a travel kennel outside the car, in the shade if possible.
“Animals can suffer from heatstroke or even death if left in the car unattended in the heat, even when parked in the shade, on a warm day,” he said.
Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said, “The best advice is don’t take pets with if you are going to leave them in a vehicle for more than a minute or two,” he said. “Even then, windows need to be cracked open.”
Little kids, he said, should never be left even for that long.
“One option is to leave the vehicle run with the air conditioning on, locking the door and having an extra key,” he said. “That isn’t a perfect solution, however, as someone can break a window and steal the vehicle.”
Wetzel said, another problem with that idea is if the vehicle stalls, “You will not know it without an alarm system and the animals would suffer death as quickly as if you’d left them there with no air on,” he said.
“It’s just a bad idea all the way around,” the sheriff said.
If anyone notices a dog left in the car on the a warm day, do not assume someone else will report the situation, said Hanneken.
“Alert the store manager, or call your local Sheriff’s Department or Police Department,” he said.