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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
11:47 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

Dogs, cars, hot weather can be a dangerous combination

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns that as the weather heats up, keeping a pet in a non-running car — even for a short amount of time — can be fatal for the animal. (Les Stukenberg/Courier photo illustration)

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns that as the weather heats up, keeping a pet in a non-running car — even for a short amount of time — can be fatal for the animal. (Les Stukenberg/Courier photo illustration)

Temperatures of 90 degrees and higher have reached the Prescott area. This means dog owners must be especially diligent about leaving their animals in hot cars.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that in outdoor temperatures of 85 degrees, it takes 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102 degrees. Within 30 minutes, a car’s interior temperature can climb from 85 to 120 degrees.

Cracking a window doesn’t always help because, without a cool breeze, air doesn’t circulate.

Prescott Valley Animal Control officers already have answered several calls this year from concerned citizens who see animals locked in cars with the owner nowhere around. While Arizona law recently changed to protect those who break a window to free an animal they believe is in distress, PV Animal Control Supervisor James Risinger asks people to consider carefully before taking such an action.

“First and foremost, if you see an animal you believe is in distress, call 911. In Prescott Valley, if an Animal Control officer is not available, the police department will send an officer,” Risinger said.

Along with calling 911, people should exhaust all avenues to find the owner before doing something as drastic as breaking a window to free an animal, he added.

“Though the law protects you if an animal is in true distress, if you are wrong, you could be held liable,” he said.

Also, dogs are naturally protective of a vehicle, and could perceive someone breaking a window as a threat, which could lead to a bite. Additionally, if the person freeing the animal has not thought how they will contain it, they can be faced with another problem, a dog on the loose.

A trained Animal Control officer will know how to approach, free and contain an animal in distress, Risinger said.

Owners may misjudge how much time a “quick” stop at a store takes.

“The typical grocery shopping time is 15 to 45 minutes. Temperatures can skyrocket in a car in that time. The majority of time the owner never intended that, but they are not aware how quickly the temperature can change,” he said. “It’s better to leave your dog at home.”

Reach the Prescott Valley Police Department at 928-772-9267 for non-emergencies and 911 in emergencies. Reach the Central Yavapai Fire and Medical Authority at 928-772-7711 in non-emergencies and 911 in emergencies.

Information submitted by Prescott Valley Animal Control